26 Oct 2016

Scalped tickets a 'cancer' in music business

7:54 pm on 26 October 2016

People who buy concert tickets from unauthorised re-sale websites could be blocked from getting into events, a consumer rights group has warned.

Gifts included tickets to Bruce Springsteen's Auckland show.

Bruce Springsteen Photo: AFP

Tickets to American rock singer Bruce Springsteen's February concert in Christchurch sold out in a matter of minutes, but they are still available on scalping websites, often for inflated prices.

Ticket scalping - in which tickets are usually resold at a premium - is legal except for events of national significance, such as Rugby World Cup games.

Despite that, ticketing companies have the option of not honouring resold tickets, Consumer New Zealand researcher Jessica Wilson said.

"Ticket agents usually have put terms in there - terms and conditions - saying that they reserve the right not to honour a ticket that has been scalped. However ... that is not always enforced."

Ms Wilson said people should always buy from official ticketing companies.

The Australian-based promoter of Springsteen's upcoming New Zealand tour said the ticket scalping companies were like "cancer" for the music industry.

A Wellington woman has told RNZ she was charged a $110 booking fee on two tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert that cost $190 each.

The fee was a third of the tickets' re-sale cost, she said.

Springsteen promoter lashes out at govt

It was the government's responsibility to do something about ticket scalping across the board, said Brent Eccles, a spokesperson for Australia-based concert promoter Frontier Touring.

"Rugby World Cup ... there was no ticket reselling, you couldn't do it, [it was] illegal.

"It's really becoming quite a hot topic and we have made representations to the Commerce Commission but they don't even understand it, so it's a bit difficult."

Mr Eccles said if people went through official ticketing agencies they would cease to enable scalping websites.

Frontier Touring has posted a strong anti-scalping message on Facebook and listed several sites that are "not authorised by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to sell tickets for their Australia and New Zealand tour".

They include Ticketblaster, Ticketmaster Resale, eBay, Viagogo, Gumtree, Queen of Tickets, the Ticket Merchant.

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