EBay defends online ticket resales

Promoters to blame for mass online AC/DC Black Ice Tour ticket auctions

EBay has defended its policies on the reselling of event tickets on its site following the mass posting of AC/DC tickets on its site just hours after the tickets went on sale, and promptly sold out, yesterday.

EBay Australia spokesperson, Daniel Feiler, said the blame for hundreds of concert tickets reselling for huge mark-ups many times the face value of the tickets, lay straight at the feet of event promoters.

“When you dump 500,000 tickets on the market in one day, when computer systems [become overloaded] by the major ticket sellers – and they do seem to [become overloaded] around these blockbuster events – it’s little wonder that [ticket scalping] happens," he said.

“When there are promoters who are putting in the effort to make a difference and make sure genuine fans get tickets in the first case, I don’t know why these other promoters can’t employ similar practices.”

Elisha Booth, brand, communications and promotions manager at Ticketek Australia would not comment on the exact state of Ticketek's Web sales systems during the sale of AC/DC's tour yesterday.

As reported by CIO, online ticket sales site Ticketek was paralysed by demand for tickets to AC/DC’s Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide shows, which went on sale yesterday.

Gary Van Egmond, promoter of the AC/DC Black Ice Australian tour, said there was little that promoters could do to manage ticket scalping once tickets had gone on sale.

“I’m in the business of selling tickets and eBay is in the business of helping scalpers sell tickets,” he said. “Big Day Out had an enormous legal battle with [eBay] over the reselling of their tickets and [Big Day Out] lost, so it shows it is really beyond our control. I don’t know what we can do”

According to Feiler, there had been a number of events, such as the Splendour in the Grass music festival, where the promoter had introduced measures which had limited the reselling of tickets online.

“They staggered the release of tickets, limited the number anyone could buy down to a low number and people had to come to the concert with their ID,” he said. “It’s not [eBay’s] job to help promoters get tickets into the hands of genuine fans.”

Van Egmond said that AC/DC tickets had been staggered, albeit all on the same day, but there was no limit on the number of tickets an individual could purchase.

“Ticket selling is our bread and butter – you can’t expect us to limit ticket sales,” he said. “EBay should not take the [ticket] ads. If eBay closes down, then that would help.”

Feiler said the company had moved to limit ticket reselling through informing consumers, through pop-ups upon listing and buying a ticket, about the potential terms and conditions and state laws they may be breaching by reselling the ticket.

He said eBay would not move toward face-value price only reselling of tickets, which is mandate in states such as Victoria and Queensland for particular sporting events such as the AFL Grand Final, due to the complexity in managing such a system.

“Tickets are a very small category, generally, and tickets for most events are different prices and so it is just impossible for us to monitor,” he said. “We have no idea of what tickets sold for how much. We don’t receive the tickets or take possession of them so we have no idea of what the original face value was.”

Publishing images of the tickets, including price and the serial number, to substantiate the true face value would not be feasible either, Feiler claimed.

“It would lead to a range of mischief making from punters,” he said. “If you know the exact ticket details you can potentially go to the ticket promoter and have the tickets cancelled. We have to have systems which are sensible, and for such a small category, it is not a sensible practice.”

Van Egmond said that ticket scalpers had successfully avoided laws in regions where tickets were restricted to face-value only sales by selling additional items, such as CDs or coffee mugs, with the tickets, thus providing and excuse to inflate the price.

“In Europe and America people were [AC/DC] selling tickets [on eBay] listing the seat numbers and rows, but they were frauds so people lost their money,” he said. “We are sick that these people are making money off it.”

Van Egmond said some 500,000 tickets were sold yesterday, making it the largest ticket selling day in Australian history.

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