EU crackdown makes sports ticket sites 88pc safer

30 Sep 2011

Irish businesses and brands are failing to capitalise on the vast spending power of non-native English language Internet consumers, according to European blog empire Populis.

MEP Mairead McGuinness explained that the crackdown targeted websites that sold tickets for non-existent events or failed to explain whether or not the buyer of tickets would get a refund should an event be cancelled.

“As a result 88pc of websites selling tickets for cultural and sporting events now comply with EU law compared with only 40pc in 2010.    Further improvements are also expected as cases are brought to the courts,” she said.

More anti-fraud crackdowns promised

“However, the internet presents ever present opportunities for those with fraudulent intent. On that basis this type of crackdown will be repeated with further exercises already planned,” MEP McGuinness added.

The ticketing sweep took place in September 2010. 414 sites were checked, and then, national authorities followed up on the problematic sites, requesting corrections and imposing sanctions if necessary.

The main problems identified initially were:

·       Missing, incomplete or misleading information about the price (e.g. hidden taxes or handling charges): 94pc of sites now display clear, and accurate information about the total cost (including delivery charges and all other extra costs), compared with 55pc in 2010;

·       Unfair terms and conditions (e.g. ticket delivery was not guaranteed on time, or the site failed to explain whether the buyer would get a refund or not, if the event was cancelled: 92pc of the websites checked now display fair terms and conditions, compared to 57pc in 2010.

·       Missing, incomplete or misleading information about the trader (e.g. the trader falsely claiming to be an authorised representative): 93pc of the websites checked now provide the required trader details such as the name, address and e-mail, compared with 72pc in 2010.

Sites have been corrected, usually voluntarily, but in some cases penalties were imposed.

National authorities will continue to work on the outstanding cases. For cross-border cases, they are in contact with their counterparts in other countries.

In 2009, about 35pc of EU consumers buying online bought tickets either for a cultural or sporting event.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years