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Derechos del consumidor

OCU demands a new legal framework for ticket resale

22 jun. 2016
OCU has received numerous consumer complaints regarding serious situations having to do with ticket resale, such as utterly exorbitant prices

Ticket resale, or scalping, is a well-known phenomenon here in Spain even though street reselling is prohibited.  The current legislation is out-of-date and does not expressly prohibit the resale of tickets via the Internet. Many websites have taken advantage of this legal loophole and this practise causes problems for consumers. OCU is launching a campaign to gather signatures in order to bring about a change in these laws to protect consumers from this type of abusive practices.

OCU reminds consumers that the list of scalping websites is long and the majority are based in foreign countries. In many cases, these website acquire a specific domain name in order to appear to consumers as if they were an official point of sale, thus misleading consumers. Likewise, these sites frequently purchase key words in search engines in order to appear high on the list of results and, in this way, increase their sales possibilities. Consumers find that they end up paying more money and, occasionally, do not even receive the purchased tickets. In other instances, consumers report that they are denied access to the concert venues.

OCU also reminds consumers of a huge scandal that occurred in March of this year with the resale of tickets for the Bruce Springsteen concert. The artist's concert promoter filed lawsuits against resale websites in the Basque Country, Madrid and Catalonia and stated their intention to bring the case before the Audiencia Nacional (Spanish National High Court) because they feel this practice contributed to artificially increased prices of the tickets and was not a fair situation for all.

This same story happens time and again. Thousands of consumers search for tickets to a specific concert on the Internet, click on one of the first results that appear in their search engines and end up paying much more than the official price. OCU feels that this lack of protection for consumers is inacceptable: if a consumer is wronged, it is very difficult, or even impossible at times, to claim damages. Moreover, if the event is cancelled, it may be possible, if they are lucky, for consumers to be reimbursed only for the original ticket price but not for any amount they may have paid over this price. This, an extreme case of which was the nearly 12,000 Euros tickets for the last Rolling Stones concert in Madrid reached, is a clearly intolerable abusive situation for consumers. 

OCU reminds consumers that several countries have already regulated ticket resale via the Internet and implemented certain conditions which protect consumers. Some of the measures adopted are that the company organising the event must expressly consent to the ticket resale and the price of the tickets being resold must not exceed a certain percentage, normally 20%, of the original price.

In addition to similar measures, OCU will inform the political parties of the need to prohibit websites which do not comply with the minimum protection and transparency guarantees for consumers. Furthermore, the need to provide affected consumers with individual assistance is essential. OCU feels that the legal framework must be updated in order to contemplate current technology. Interested consumers can register to support this campaign at:

Finally, OCU also reminds consumers that the average price of a concert ticket in our country is 13.50 Euros. Although it is difficult to quantify the amount saved, we could be talking about hundreds of Euros. In 2015 alone, more than 3 million people attended live popular music concerts.

For more information, please contact Eva Jiménez (media). Telephone: 917226061