Fans at risk from online scalpers
As the summer tour season gets into full swing, concert promoter Michael Gudinski has cautioned fans to be wary of ticket resale sites offering hard-to-get tickets for much more than face value.
Gudinski, whose Frontier Touring was yesterday ranked No 3 tour promoter in the world, said fans risked being locked out of shows if they bought tickets from online scalpers.
Resale ticket sites such as Switzerland-based Viagogo sell hard-to-get tickets — which vendors may obtain by using scalping software, or “bots” — at often inflated prices. Fans risked being locked out of a show if they don’t have an authorised ticket.
“Some people who buy tickets from Viagogo don’t get to see the show,” Gudinski said. “There are some people who buy tickets from Viagogo … and (the shows) are not even sold out on the prop- er sites of the venues … The venues control ticketing, not the promoter.”
Opera Australia last month discovered its Melbourne season of Evita starring Tina Arena had been hit by ticket scalpers.
Alex Budd, OA’s executive producer of touring and commercial, said Viagogo was selling tickets for more than $400 when the top price for that particular performance was $179.90. “Scalpers are running a business with zero social benefit and they take away the producer’s ability to manage the market,” he said.
The Coalition and Labor have both promised to outlaw the use of ticket bots, which give resale sites an unfair advantage.
Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said the government was looking at options to ban bot technology, including hefty penalties, but a problem was bot users may be based outside Australia.
Some states have legislation aimed at preventing unscrupulous resale of tickets for certain venues and events.
In Victoria, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which begins previews this week, is a designated “major event”, which means tickets cannot be resold for more than 110 per cent of the original price.
Gudinski said it was “almost impossible” for Frontier Touring to take action against resale sites because the original seller of a ticket often could not be identified. He said sites such as Viagogo failed to meet Australian consumer standards.
“I don’t think fans care who the promoter is; if they want to see a show, they will go, but they should buy it from the right ticketing company,” he said.
“It’s very frustrating when people buy tickets from Viagogo and the show’s not even sold out.”
Viagogo did not respond to a request for comment.
‘Some people who buy tickets from Viagogo don’t get to see the show,’ warns promoter Michael Gudinski