New measures aimed at tackling ticket touts and enforcing stricter regulations on the secondary ticket market have become law after the Digital Economy Bill was passed last week.The bill, which includes online provisions across a number of markets, criminalises the use of ticket buying bots to bulk-buy tickets in the UK and empowers authorities to charge unlimited fines to anyone found breaking this new law.The legislation also builds on the Consumer Rights Act 2015, by mandating that resale platforms will need to provide potential buyers unique ticket reference, booking number and resale restrictions to potential buyers on top of their existing obligations.Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture said: “This legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy. The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the internet, and further transformation of government services.”The bill, which was rushed through parliament before it dissolves for the upcoming general election, is the result of years of campaigning by FanFair Alliance, artists, MPs and primary ticket sellers like Ticket Arena to provide better protections and a fairer deal for consumers buying tickets online.In response to the new legislation, FanFair Alliance said in a statement: “On top of Government measures to criminalise the bulk-buying of tickets, this relatively minor amendment to the Consumer Rights Act, for a ‘unique ticket number’ to be displayed when a ticket is listed for resale, should greatly increase transparency in the so-called secondary ticketing market. If enforced, it will give users some assurances that the ticket they are buying actually exists, as well as disrupting the practices of hardcore touts."Going forward, it is now vital that the UK's consumer laws are enforced, and recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing are fully implemented. After the General Election, we will need details on how all these changes will work in practice. Only then, and combined with a concerted effort from industry and regulators, will this broken market be fixed and British audiences provided with the open and properly-functioning resale market they deserve."
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