'Music fans have been fleeced for far too long': Bots crackdown set to come into force

'Music fans have been fleeced for far too long': Bots crackdown set to come into force

A new law banning touts from using bots to bulk buy more tickets than allowed by event organisers will be laid in parliament this week - paving the way for the measures to come into force.

The new criminal offence will mean touts using automated software to bulk buy tickets for resale on secondary ticketing sites at hugely inflated prices will face unlimited fines.

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher welcomed the announcement. "This new law is an important step to ensure transparency in the resale ticket market," he said. "We need the law to be fully enforced to protect music fans from being ripped off. We also need much stronger action from Google which is still directing fans to sites like Viagogo at the top of an online search, rather than to official ticketing.

"Music fans have been fleeced for far too long and we will continue to work with Government to ensure our fantastic live music industry continues to bring enjoyment to millions of people and to make over a £1 billion annual contribution to the UK economy."

Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, said: "I’m determined to make sure everyone has the chance to see their favourite stars at a fair price.

"This week we will reach the final stage in our fight to beat rip-off ticket touts using bots to buy huge numbers of tickets only to sell them on at massively over-inflated prices. Our work, together with improvements by industry, will give consumers greater protection, make the market more transparent and help Britain’s live events scene continue to thrive."

Consumer minister Andrew Griffiths said: "Fans have a right to know exactly what they’re signing up to on ticket resale websites, but all too often people are left feeling ripped off when the ticket doesn’t match expectations.

"We’re taking steps to crack down on touts using 'bots' to bulk buy tickets for resale and last week’s new rules will also improve transparency in this market."

Adam Webb, campaign manager of anti-touting pressure group FanFair Alliance, said: "This new legislation is important, and we need it to be activated and enforced. By reducing the means of dedicated touts to bulk harvest tickets, Government can help recalibrate the live music market and give fans a better opportunity to buy tickets at a price the artist sets."

Measures against touts selling tickets at vastly inflated prices were included in the Digital Economy Bill last year.

There have been additional steps against resale sites by the Competition And Markets Authority(CMA), while Google has announced resale regulations.

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