CMA demands StubHub change its site or face court action

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified problems that could mean the ticket resale firm StubHub are breaking consumer law.

Bekki Bemrose
  • By Bekki Bemrose
  • 29 Jan 2020
  • min read
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified problems that could mean the ticket resale firm StubHub are breaking consumer law.

The CMA has found issues with the information about some tickets for sale on StubHubs’s UK website as part of regular monitoring.

Concerns highlighted by the CMA include:
- failure to adequately warn people that tickets may not get them into an event
- use of misleading messages about ticket availability
- the targeting of UK consumers with tickets for events listed on overseas versions of their websites, which may not comply with UK law
- failure to ensure people know exactly where they will sit in a venue
- failure to take sufficient steps to ensure that the full addresses of business sellers are displayed

StubHub have assured the CMA that it will make changes to its website promptly.

If the adjustments do not fully address its concerns, the CMA will consider taking the matter to court.

Meanwhile, FanFair Alliance – the campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting – has welcomed the news and urged the CMA to take ‘decisive action.’

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive, CMA, says: ‘StubHub had previously committed to make important changes to the information on its site, so anyone buying a ticket would know what they were getting before parting with their money. It’s therefore unacceptable that we have now found these concerns.

‘We have demanded swift action to resolve these problems and are pleased that StubHub has said it will make changes in response. We will closely monitor the firm’s efforts and, if it does not quickly implement changes that satisfy us, we will take further action - potentially through the courts.

‘As we continue to examine these consumer cases, it is now imperative that the CMA is given stronger powers to rule on whether a company has broken the law and impose fines if needed. We will continue to work with the Government on the most effective way to achieve this.’

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance: ‘This is a welcome announcement from the CMA, which again highlights continuing dysfunctions in the secondary ticketing market. StubHub have had years to comply with UK consumer law, they were forced to sign legal undertakings in April 2018, and yet they still fall short of expected standards. If StubHub and other secondary ticketing platforms continue to mislead UK audiences, we would urge the CMA to take decisive action through the courts. Today's developments should also provide yet more impetus for regulators to thoroughly investigate the proposed merger between viagogo and StubHub.’