Saturday 29 July 2017

Companies that sell concert tickets face investigation from State watchdog

The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 playing in Las Vegas in 2016. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty
The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 playing in Las Vegas in 2016. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Companies that sell tickets for concerts and other live events are facing a probe from the State’s competition watchdog.

It is understood that the investigation involves the main provider of tickets for live events, venues and concert promoters.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said it had launched an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in relation to the provision of tickets and the operation of ticketing services for live events.

The move comes after Ticketmaster was heavily criticised earlier this month when ticket sales it was handling for an upcoming U2 concert in Croke Park sold out in minutes.

Concert goers were annoyed when the tickets soon appeared on its sister site Seatwave for multiples of the original price. In some cases, sellers have asked for up to €1,000 for a ticket.

The commission on the re-sale of tickets on some sites can be up 20pc, the Dáil was told recently.

The competition probe will “focus primarily on potentially anti-competitive conduct by operators including; those involved in providing tickets and ticketing services, promoters and venues,” a spokesman for  the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said

Witness summonses and formal requests for information have been issued to a number of parties, the commission added.

The commission, chaired by Isolde Goggin, said it welcomes contacts from parties in the sector who may have information that they feel is relevant to the investigation.

Last week Fine Gael backbencher Noel Rock said he was preparing a bill to clamp down on what mass ticket re-selling.

He wants to change the rules on ticket selling, said there was technology to prevent such large-scale re-selling.

Ticketmaster has come under fire after U2 tickets on its site, after being sold out, immediately appeared on its sister site Seatwave for multiples of the original price. In some cases, sellers have asked for up to €1,000 for a ticket.

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae called last week for the Government to tackle ticket touting like the US had tackled organised crime.

“When the US authorities were unable to get Al Capone for murder, they got him for taxes,” said Mr Healy-Rae.

“Are those who are involved in ticket touting in Ireland on a professional basis or otherwise paying tax on their exorbitant profits?”

Ticketmaster said it has no comment to make on the Commission’s announcement.

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