Fans at risk from on­line scalpers

The Australian - - THE NATION - MATTHEW WEST­WOOD

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.

STUART McEVOY

‘Some peo­ple who buy tick­ets from Vi­a­gogo don’t get to see the show,’ warns pro­moter Michael Gudinski

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