Home Technology Regulation Google forced to act on shonky ticket resellers

Google forced to act on shonky ticket resellers

Pressure from consumer groups has forced Google to crack down on ticket resellers from the beginning of the new year.

The consumer group CHOICE said that Google would ask anyone who wanted to resell tickets to gain certification before doing so.

For this, a reseller would have to:

  • Clearly disclose they are a secondary market and are not the primary provider of tickets;
  • Not imply in advertisements that they are primary providers of tickets through the use of words such as “official”;
  • Disclose the face value of the ticket and the resale price; and
  • Provide a price breakdown, including any taxes and fees, in the online checkout before payment is required.

CHOICE said, along with other consumer and fan groups around the world, it had called out Google and other search engines for being a party to the confusion prevailing around online tickets by allowing resale websites to place paid links above official sites in search results.

“Our research found 76% of fans in our survey who used Google to find event tickets didn’t know they were dealing with a ticket resale site[” CHOICE head of media Tom Godfrey said.

“Once you land on a resale site you don’t really stand a chance, with resellers using tricky tactics such as disguising buttons to look similar to authorised sellers, not disclosing the full price before you pay, or making ‘official’ claims.

“Given the extent of poor practice across the ticket resale industry, it’s great to see Google is playing its part to dry up their site traffic.”

In March, CHOICE referred Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale to the ACCC for potential breaches of Australian Consumer Law.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.