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Consumer Protection: Secondary Ticketing

Volume 764: debated on Thursday 9 July 2015


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to commence the review of the consumer protection measures for the secondary ticketing market under section 94 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015; and who will undertake it.

My Lords, work on appointing the chair and expert group is well advanced and the review will proceed once this and the terms of reference are finalised. We are aware of our statutory obligation to publish a report on its findings by 26 May 2016.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply but ticket fraud continues to soar this summer. Circle Tickets has defrauded hundreds of music fans just this June while the RFU reports zero compliance with the Act for World Cup tickets, so the problem remains acute. This review is enshrined in statute as a result of the efforts of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and others only recently. We are now two months out from the general election. When will this review start, will BIS or the DCMS oversee it and what will its scope be?

My Lords, as I have said, we will publish details of the review shortly. I share the noble Lord’s disappointment on the enforcement side and, prompted by his Question, I spoke to the City of London Police only last week. I was reassured about some of the actions it is taking, both on its own and with the cultural and sporting bodies, for the important events of this summer. As the noble Lord will know, May through to July is the peak period so there will be more cases, but Action Fraud is on to the job.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for the work that she has undertaken on this subject. Can she assure the House that the review committee members will be provided with a clear legal opinion as to exactly what information can be included on tickets to sport and musical events, within the interpretation of the EU consumer rights directive?

I thank my noble friend for all he has done to move forward the consumer offer in this important area. I can confirm that the review will assess the current law, including changes we made in the Consumer Rights Act as a result of work in this House, and any surrounding law, which would rightly include any EU provisions.

My Lords, further to that response, which I welcome, can the Minister spell out a little more how the review will operate, as information on that is still not available? It will presumably receive evidence. If it does, will it take oral and well as written testimony and, if that evidence is provided, will it be published so that we can all look at it?

I am grateful to the noble Lord for his questions. We have debated some of these points before. The chair will need to take a view on exactly how they run things. Clearly, the idea of a review is to have a wide range of evidence, and I think we will come back to the House on exactly how we organise that once we announce the review and the precise terms of reference. We have a short time for this, but it is good to have a focused review with an end date. We also need experience of how the new arrangements are working, as they only came into effect on 27 May. The review will be able to look at the summer of joy—the Ashes, the World Cup and Wimbledon, which is on at the moment—and see how the arrangements are working.