Neil Hudson looks at the problem of concert tickets reaching ridiculous prices in the resale market.
According to a Which? campaign, concert-goers are being royally ripped off by extortionate ticket prices on the re-sale market.
The problem was highlighted right here in Leeds with the opening gig at Leeds First Direct Arena, where tickets with a face value of £65 were being touted for as much as £1,400 on the internet.
Now there are moves afoot to tackle the issue. One campaign, launched by consumer rights organisation Which? at www.which.co.uk/campaigns/ticket-fees/know-the-issue, has an online petition for people to sign and shows information showing how much ticket prices have been inflated.
The online petition has now reached 49,219 and the issue has now escaped the gaze of Parliament, where an all party parliamentary group has also been looking at this recently.
At the time, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported on the issue that fans were furious over the sky-high prices of online tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s opener show at Leeds First Direct Arena.
Tickets to see The Boss on July 24 were being sold on ticketing websites for as much as £1,400.
The tickets - which had a face value of £65 - sold out in minutes when were released in February but then began appearing on secondary ticket website - leaving fans frustrated.
Springsteen superfan Tom Williams, 31, launched his own online petition, which is attracting hundreds of signatures.
At the time, he told the YEP: “We feel they didn’t even go on sale to us. We’ve been caught out by the way they’re sold.
“You can’t resell football tickets - I don’t see why it should be any different for concert tickets.
“The price of £1,400 for a ticket is just insane. If anyone can afford to pay that, I’d like to meet them. They weren’t cheap to start off with - it’s absolutely crazy.”
He said other fans were writing to MPs about the issue of ticket sales and others were asking Leeds Arena bosses if anything can be done in the future.
Readers of the YEP online also posted their frustrations in response to last week’s story.
One said: “It is such a shame that fans...desperate to go to this concert are either paying the price or missing out.”
Tony Watson, director of sales at Leeds Arena, said at the time they were working to cancel any ‘re-sale’ tickets and worked closely with promoters to try and make sure true fans get tickets.
He said: “Whilst we understand the frustration felt by fans, we are all fans here ourselves, we do not have any legal power.
“It is however against the terms and conditions of sale to resell an arena ticket and we are working with our partners to cancel tickets that are resold.
“As ever, we recommend you only purchase through our official channels to guarantee you have a valid ticket.”
Other examples abound. Which? noted that a £25 face value ticket bought via See Tickets to see Jimmy Carr’s December 2014 stand-up show at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall cost £9.50 in additional fees (£3 booking fee plus £6.50 compulsory delivery fee) - a mark-up of 3 per cent.
Which? also expressed concern that compulsory fees were not clearly stated at the start of a transaction. The online campaign has already had some success, with several companies signing up to a new code of conduct.
The website states: “Entertainment lovers are being hit by high fees and hidden extra charges when buying tickets to events online.
“We’ve already convinced the ticketing industry to display fees upfront. We’re now challenging them to clearly explain their fees and set them at a fair level. We want companies to give a clear explanation of all additional charges, such as booking and delivery fees.”
It adds: “We called on companies to show all compulsory charges upfront.
“Thanks to your support, seven major ticketing companies have now committed to doing this, including See Tickets, Ticketmaster and ATG Tickets.
“We’ll keep our eye on them to ensure they deliver these changes.”