Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 10:15 pm, 8th February 2017

My Lords, I too would, of course, like to pay tribute, on behalf of the Government, to Baroness Heyhoe Flint today. I agree that it is particularly appropriate that we should be discussing this subject today.

In 2015 this House acknowledged the complexity of online ticketing by including the requirement for a review of consumer protection measures relating to online secondary ticketing in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Professor Michael Waterson conducted that review, and his independent report makes a number of points relevant to these amendments. I will come to the specific question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, in a minute.

First, Professor Waterson does not recommend a ban on the secondary ticketing market, recognising instead its benefit to consumers. Amendment 231, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, on the unauthorised resale of tickets, could in effect ban the secondary ticketing market. There would be no obligation for organisers to approve a resale platform, or to accept returns. As a result there would be no outlet to recoup money for those who found they could not attend an event. Consumers could be left unable to sell any tickets they cannot use, other than through the black market. That would expose buyers and sellers to much greater risk of fraud than using the online secondary ticketing market, which has safeguards and guarantees built in.

Significant market intervention should be carefully considered and consistently applied. Professor Waterson calls for the existing provisions of the Consumer Rights Act to be enforced and tested. We should therefore welcome and await the outcome of the recently announced enforcement investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.