The Consumer Rights Bill is now ready for Royal Assent, Parliament having agreed all outstanding points. It is likely that the Bill will receive Royal Assent before Parliament is dissolved on 30 March and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) intend it to come into force later this year. The secondary ticket provisions are to take effect two months after the Bill receives Royal Assent with the remainder of the Bill expected to come into force on 1 October.
Since our webinar in November (still available for viewing) at the Bill has gone through a number of amendments, as proposed by the House of Lords. The majority of these were accepted by the Commons on 12 January but they rejected the Lords proposals in relation to regulating secondary ticketing operators. As is the technical term, the Bill ‘ping ponged’ between the two Houses until the proposed amendments were in an agreed form and the Commons agreed these on 9 March.
The ticketing amendments are intended to clamp down on (i) the sale of fake tickets and (ii) the buying of tickets in bulk and the reselling of these on the secondary market at inflated prices. As a result of the changes:
- Ticket resellers will have to provide ticket buyers with certain basic information including the face value of the ticket, the seat number and any age restrictions on use of the ticket;
- Event organisers and secondary ticket facility operators, but not individuals, will be required to disclose their status when reselling tickets;
- Event organisers will not be able to cancel resold tickets or ‘blacklist’ a seller for reselling tickets or merely offering tickets for resale, unless an original term of sale of the ticket allows them. Any such original terms have to be ‘fair’ under the Bill (or where used on tickets before the relevant part of the Bill comes into force, under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations);
- Secondary ticket facility operators will be under a duty to report criminal activity where they become aware someone is using their website or facility in an illegal way; and
- A statutory review of the secondary ticketing market is to be carried out within the first year of the secondary ticketing provisions coming into force.
Detailed guidance for businesses expecting to be affected by the changes is due to be available next month. Guidance on the unfair terms elements of the Bill is being produced by the Competition and Markets Authority and their consultation on the draft guidance is due to close on 30 March. A copy of the consultation is available here.