The competition watchdog has warned it will take action against secondary ticketing websites found to be flouting consumer law, after it launched a formal probe today.

An 'enforcement investigation' has been kick-started by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that will focus on practices within the secondary ticketing market, where the four main companies are: Get Me In, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo.

It follows concerns that people are not getting the full range of information required by law when buying tickets put up for resale.

The investigation will focus 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

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Initial review highlighted lack of compliance

Earlier this year, the CMA carried out an initial review of the four main secondary ticketing websites to ensure they improve the information provided about tickets advertised on their sites.

The watchdog said today that one website was not fully complying with its undertaking and it's actively pursuing it to ensure obligations are met "in full".

'Concerns about a lack of transparency'

Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive, says: "A night out at a concert or a trip to a big match is something that millions of people look forward to. So it's important they know who they are buying from and whether there are any restrictions that could stop them using the ticket.

"We have heard concerns about a lack of transparency over who is buying up tickets from the primary market. We also think that it is essential that those consumers who buy tickets from the secondary market are made aware if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door.

"We have therefore decided to open a sector-wide investigation to ensure that customers are made aware of important information that they are legally entitled to. If we find breaches of consumer law, we will take enforcement action."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.