CMA threatens StubHub with court action

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a warning to the secondary ticketing company, StubHub, after identifying issues with the information it provides on its UK website.

It is concerned that the site is breaking consumer law, despite the company committing to alter the information it provides following an investigation from the CMA.

The CMA announced these issues include:

  • failing to adequately warn customers tickets may not grant them access to an event.
  • misleading customers on ticket availability.
  • targeting UK customers with tickets for events listed on non-UK based versions of the website, which may not comply with UK law.
  • failing to inform consumers where they will be allocated in a venue
  • failing to take sufficient steps to ensure that the full addresses of business sellers are displayed.

If StubHub does not comply to the changes the CMA has ordered, it may face the regulator in court.

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Chief executive of the CMA, Andrea Coscelli, said: “StubHub had previously committed to make important changes to the information on its site, so anyone buying a ticket would know what they were getting before parting with their money. It’s therefore unacceptable that we have now found these concerns.

“We have demanded swift action to resolve these problems and are pleased that StubHub has said it will make changes in response. We will closely monitor the firm’s efforts and, if it does not quickly implement changes that satisfy us, we will take further action – potentially through the courts.

“As we continue to examine these consumer cases, it is now imperative that the CMA is given stronger powers to rule on whether a company has broken the law and impose fines if needed. We will continue to work with the Government on the most effective way to achieve this.”

Wayne Grierson, the NEMEA regional manager at StubHub UK, responded: “StubHub UK has complied with everything that the CMA requested following their investigation into the online secondary ticketing sector in 2018. Our compliance with our undertakings was confirmed through a compliance audit in 2019. We have always cooperated closely with regulators in the interests of our fans and will continue to do so.

“The CMA has now made additional asks. We remain in open dialogue with the CMA to address both these new asks and any remaining valid concerns about disclosure of information on our site. We are working closely to resolve these as quickly as possible, and in the best interest of our customers, the fans.”

StubHub is expected to be taken over by ticketing rival, Viagogo, which was also on the receiving end of a CMA investigation. However, the CMA dropped the case last year after the site made considerable changes.

The CMA is investigating the proposed takeover to determine whether the combination of the two sites will affect competition in the UK.