Secondary ticketing websites

The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary tickets market.



Date Action
16 August 2021 CMA recommendations to government
19 August 2020 Update on StubHub compliance
29 January 2020 Update on StubHub compliance
5 September 2019 Preparations for further court action suspended
4 July 2019 Update on further legal action against viagogo
5 March 2019 Update on viagogo’s compliance with court order
24 January 2019 CMA initial checks completed
17 January 2019 Update and summary of information added on the January deadline
27 November 2018 Court order secured against viagogo
25 April 2018 Undertakings offered by StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave
28 November 2017 Enforcement action announced
19 December 2016 Enforcement case launched following compliance review
14 June 2016 Compliance review commences
5 March 2015 Undertakings given to the CMA and investigation closed
26 July 2012 Case opened

CMA recommendations to government

16 August 2021: The CMA published recommendations to government to improve consumer protection in the online secondary tickets market.

The recommendations include:

  • a ban on platforms allowing resellers to sell more tickets for an event than they can legally buy from the primary market;
  • ensuring platforms are fully responsible for incorrect information about tickets that are listed for sale on their websites;
  • a new system of licensing for platforms that sell secondary tickets that would enable sanctions such as taking down websites, withdrawing a business’s right to operate in the sector, and the imposition of substantial fines

Update on StubHub compliance

StubHub makes changes to its UK site to address CMA concerns

19 August 2020: StubHub has addressed concerns raised by the CMA about the information it provides for tickets on sale via its UK website.

Following CMA action, StubHub addressed the CMA’s concerns about its compliance with existing undertakings to the CMA and newer concerns about its use of misleading messages about ticket availability and the use of adverts for event listings on overseas events that may not have been compliant with UK consumer law.

StubHub has provided an expanded set of undertakings to the CMA covering those newer issues as well:

28 January 2020: The CMA has told ticket resale firm StubHub to make changes to its site after identifying problems that could mean it is breaking consumer law.

Updates on viagogo compliance with court order

Independent reviews of viagogo’s compliance

The court order the CMA secured against viagogo on 27 November 2018 contained a requirement that an annual independent review of its compliance with the court order be carried out until 2023. The first of these annual reviews was carried out by Deloitte and completed in October 2019.

Deloitte did not find non-compliance with the court order at the time of the annual review. It did however make a recommendation about how viagogo’s systems for gathering information about traders’ addresses could be improved. This recommendation was implemented by viagogo. Deloitte confirmed that this change had been implemented satisfactorily in November 2019. No further action was required by viagogo at that stage.

This first annual review follows various checks on viagogo’s compliance since the court order was put in place. These checks included an initial independent review, again carried out by Deloitte, in April 2019, looking at whether viagogo had implemented changes required by the court order.

The results of this were considered alongside the CMA’s own checks, with the CMA subsequently moving forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against viagogo. The CMA later suspended preparations for court action on 5 September after viagogo addressed all the outstanding concerns.

The next independent review of viagogo’s compliance with the court order will be carried out in October 2020. If fresh information emerges in the meantime that suggests the company is not meeting its obligations the CMA will not hesitate to take further action – through the courts if necessary.

Outstanding concerns addressed

5 September 2019: Following continued pressure from the CMA, viagogo has now addressed outstanding concerns about how it presents information to its customers.

The CMA has therefore suspended preparations for further court action.

The CMA will continue to maintain pressure on the resale site to ensure that it fully complies with UK consumer protection law, and Deloitte will complete a further independent review of viagogo’s compliance with the court order in October 2019.

4 July 2019: Following several warnings that viagogo has not done enough to overhaul the way it presents information on its website, the CMA is now moving forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against viagogo.

5 March 2019: The CMA has today warned viagogo it is still not compliant with the court order we secured, requiring improved information be displayed about the tickets listed for resale on its site.

Although some improvements have been made since we first demanded action to address areas of non-compliance, further checks have shown there are still issues of concern.

For a company not to comply with a court order is clearly very serious. We are therefore now preparing to take legal action to ask a court to find viagogo in contempt.

Initial checks

24 January 2019: Following initial checks, the CMA has serious concerns that viagogo has not complied with important aspects of the court order we secured against them.

The CMA has now raised these concerns with viagogo and expects them to make any necessary changes without delay. If they do not, the CMA will return to court to ensure they do.

January deadline

17 January 2019: As of midnight on the 17 January 2019, viagogo, StubHub and Ticketmaster are all required to have overhauled their processes to improve information about tickets listed for resale.

Following this, there will be a comprehensive review of the changes each website has made. The CMA will update this page with the results of that review.

The CMA has also published 2 open letters.

The first is for event organisers on how to make sure information about tickets for their events is disclosed on secondary ticketing websites and the steps that those who use restrictions on resale can take to reduce the risk of the CMA prioritising enforcement action against them.

The second is for secondary ticketing website operators, on how to ensure they are complying with consumer law

Review of historic unpaid claims under the viagogo guarantee

On 27 November, the CMA announced that it has obtained a court order against viagogo that will overhaul the way it does business. Since then, some people have asked whether customers of viagogo who had claims refused under its guarantee might be entitled to compensation.

As part of the court order, the CMA has secured an independently supervised review of unpaid claims made by people who provided viagogo with:

  • evidence that they didn’t get in to an event, or
  • specific evidence from the event organiser that their ticket was invalid

The review will look at claims made between January 2016 and November 2018.

If the review finds any claims that should have been paid, then viagogo must give the affected person a refund.

An independent, qualified third party (for example, an auditor or a lawyer) will be appointed to supervise the review. The independent third party needs to be approved by the CMA before they are appointed.

People who believe that they may be entitled to compensation do not need to do anything. viagogo must arrange for the review to be carried out and for any payments to be made. There is no need to contact viagogo, the independent third party or the CMA.

The process should be completed by early in 2019.

viagogo court order

27 November 2018: The CMA has secured a court order against viagogo. The ticket resale site must overhaul the way it does business by mid-January 2019 in order to comply. This results from legal proceedings launched by the CMA in August over concerns that viagogo was breaking consumer protection law.

31 August 2018: The CMA has issued court proceedings against viagogo over concerns it is breaking consumer protection law. The CMA began enforcement action against 4 major secondary ticketing websites in November 2017. As a result, 3 of those sites offered formal commitments in April 2018 to overhaul the way they do business.

viagogo has not agreed to make the changes the CMA considers necessary, and the CMA is now seeking a court order to ensure they comply with the law.

Undertakings offered by StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave

25 April 2018: StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave have formally committed to ensuring better information will be given about tickets being resold through their platforms. This builds on changes they had already made during the course of the CMA’s investigation, and will help people to decide whether buying a ticket is worthwhile, as well as pick the best deal for them.

The CMA also raised the same concerns about how information is provided to customers with a fourth platform, viagogo, along with other issues. However, this platform has not, currently, agreed to make the changes the CMA considers necessary. The CMA has notified them it will take action through the courts, unless they promptly commit to satisfactorily addressing its concerns.

Enforcement action: secondary ticketing investigation and unfair terms work

28 November 2017: The CMA has announced that it will take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law. The CMA is raising its concerns with a number of these websites and will be requiring them to take action where necessary. It has also broadened the scope of its original investigation to include a number of additional issues, prompted by new information gathered in the course of its work.

In addition, the CMA plans to engage with event organisers to help them to avoid being challenged for using unfair terms to restrict the resale of their tickets. The CMA has set out its current views on steps that event organisers should take. It plans to listen to any views that interested stakeholders have about these proposed steps in the coming weeks before finalising this position – developing it further, if necessary.

Government response to Professor Waterson’s independent review of secondary tickets

14 March 2017: The government’s response to Professor Waterson’s independent review of the secondary tickets sector given on 13 March has highlighted the CMA’s contribution to addressing various issues identified in Professor Waterson’s report. The CMA has today published an update on this work which can be found in the document below.

Launch of enforcement investigation

19 December 2016: The CMA has opened an enforcement investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary tickets market. This follows concerns identified by the CMA during its compliance review that people are not getting the full range of information required by consumer protection law when buying tickets put up for resale.

We’ll consider whether, in our view, both the businesses selling tickets and the secondary ticketing platforms advertising them are failing to provide the full range of information in breach of the law and, if so, take enforcement action.

We’ll specifically look at whether information is provided on:

  • who the seller is
  • any connections the seller may have with the platform or event organisers
  • whether there are any restrictions on the use of resold tickets which could result in the person being denied access to the event
  • where a seat is located in the venue

The CMA also carried out an initial review of the 4 main secondary ticketing websites to ensure they were complying with undertakings previously given to improve the information provided about tickets advertised on their sites. This work concluded that one website was not fully complying with its undertaking and we are actively pursuing this to ensure it is meeting its obligations in full. All other websites have changed their practices in line with their undertakings.

Compliance review update

12 September 2016: On 14 June 2016, the CMA launched a compliance review focusing on the 4 main secondary ticket platforms.

The CMA has gathered and is continuing to review information from secondary ticket platforms, venues, sports bodies, ticket resellers, representatives of the music industry and consumers, and other interested parties. It’s also carrying out its own review of the 4 main platforms’ websites. It will now complete its analysis and consider what, if any, further steps might be required by the CMA or other enforcement partners.

The CMA plans to provide a further update on this work by the end of the calendar year.

The review is considering the platforms’ compliance with: the undertakings provided to the CMA following its earlier investigation, as well as with other legislative provisions, including more recent legal requirements under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Compliance review commences

14 June 2016: In March 2015, the CMA announced that 4 UK secondary ticket platforms – GET ME IN!, Seatwave, StubHub and viagogo – had provided undertakings to build upon their existing practices and give improved information to buyers about the tickets listed on their sites.

The CMA is now carrying out a review to assess whether the 4 secondary ticket platforms are providing adequate information to consumers, in accordance with their undertakings and their legal obligations. The CMA is asking anyone with relevant information about the 4 secondary ticket platforms and their practices to send it to us.

The CMA has not taken any decisions about whether there have been any breaches of consumer protection legislation or what it might do once this review is completed.

Details on the review and how to respond can be found in the document below.

Investigation closed

In July 2012, the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into the secondary ticketing market. This was to help make sure consumers had all the information they needed before buying tickets from secondary ticket websites.

The undertakings given to the CMA will now provide buyers with better information on secondary ticket websites and help them to understand what they are getting before they buy.

Published 5 March 2015
Last updated 16 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. CMA recommendations to government published.

  2. Update on StubHub compliance and undertakings published.

  3. Update on StubHub’s compliance added.

  4. Update published: following continued pressure from the CMA, viagogo has now addressed outstanding concerns about how it presents information to its customers.

  5. Updated to reflect the CMA is moving forward with further legal action against viagogo.

  6. An update on viagogo compliance with the court order secured against them has been added to page.

  7. The case page has been updated to include information following the CMA’s initial checks of viagogo’s compliance with the court order secured against them.

  8. A summary of information about the January secondary ticketing deadline has been published, and 2 open letters have been published.

  9. viagogo court order and information about independently supervised review of unpaid claims published.

  10. Announcement that the CMA has issued court proceedings against viagogo published.

  11. Update on secondary ticketing investigation.

  12. Update on secondary ticketing investigation and unfair terms work published.

  13. Update added.

  14. Enforcement investigation launched.

  15. Update added.

  16. Update on compliance review published.

  17. Open letters added.

  18. First published.