Ticket sales (secondary ticket sales)

When a well-known band or performer announces their tour dates, or a large sporting event is due to take place, we are used to seeing these types of concerts and events sell out quickly.

Inevitably, tickets for these ‘sold-out’ events become available via online auctions sites such as eBay, and through secondary ticket agents and fan-to-fan ticket exchanges – often at an inflated cost.

What the law says

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, it is illegal for the seller to give you misleading information about the ticket, or to miss out vital information, such as the seats having a restricted view of the stage.

If you buy from a secondary ticketing agency, for example Stubhub, Viagogo, or Ticketmaster, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 mean the seller must provide you with clear and full information about:

  • timings, locations, seat numbers/standing areas;
  • the original ‘face-value’ cost of the ticket;
  • the full cost of the ticket now, including booking fees, surcharges or non-optional charges such as postage;
  • any restrictions for the ticket(s) e.g. age limits, restricted sight-lines;
  • any specific terms and conditions e.g. how a named ticket can be transferred to someone else; and
  • a contact email should any problems arise.

If you have never bought from the ticket seller before, use an internet search engine to check for previous customer feedback, and see if other consumers were happy with their experience.  

If you suspect a ticket you have bought is not genuine, check with the concert/event promoter to avoid being disappointed and spending additional money on travel and/or accommodation.

At the venue

Do not be tempted to buy from someone on the street or near the venue – this is where ‘ticket touts’ can operate and if the tickets are not genuine you will have lost your money and it is unlikely you will be able to track the seller down.

How to pay

When purchasing tickets, consider using a credit card if the ticket costs £100 or over, as this gives you added protection known as equal or joint liability. By law, the credit card company must help get your money back if a problem arises with your purchase, for example, the tickets fail to arrive, or the event is cancelled and you have trouble getting your money back from the ticket seller.

This law only applies to the purchase of a single item and will not work if you bought, for example, two tickets costing £50.00.

If you’re buying a number of tickets, or the ticket value is less than £100, you can use the credit or debit card provider’s Chargeback process to claim money back. This is a voluntary process that card providers sign-up to rather than a legal requirement so check the terms and conditions of your card provider’s Chargeback agreement.


If you think you have been a victim of ticket fraud, report it to Consumerline, managed by Trading Standards Service on 0300 123 6262 or visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/consumerline