Music and rugby fans are being warned to be wary of online ticket touts who are advertising tickets above their original cost for sold-out events.
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has called for the passing of anti-touting legislation as a matter of urgency in response to a flurry of listings of tickets for events such as the sold-out Electric Picnic and the Rugby World Cup on a number of online platforms.
Many of these tickets are listed at prices far above their original face value and Mr Rock said that genuine fans are being ripped off. He said that he is aware of tickets being sold on Viagogo for this weekend's sold-out Electric Picnic festival for up to €395. The tickets were originally sold by Ticketmaster for €260, with some tickets available for less than that on ticket loyalty schemes.
At the time of writing, Viagogo listed 82 tickets for the Electric Picnic festival. While many of these tickets were listed at the original face value and, in some cases, even less than that, there were also numerous tickets priced for more than €300. More than a dozen were priced between €400 and €500, with some of these listing a VIP pass as an extra perk. Six tickets were listed as more than €500 for a ticket, including one at €658.
The issue is prevalent on social media sites, too. While Facebook has been removing listings for tickets above face value, there were a number of posts on Twitter seeking to sell tickets.
Mr Rock said the same issue has emerged in relation to the much sought-after tickets for the Rugby World Cup, with some advertised significantly above face value.
Work is ongoing to pass legislation to prevent the resale of tickets above their face value but the new rules have yet to be approved.
Mr Rock said: “This work must be completed without delay, so the legislation can be submitted to the European Commission for consideration and we can move forward with the final stages of the legislative process. We have waited long enough for an end to touts making significant profits from fans. As Ireland prepares to host four Euro 2020 matches next summer it is imperative that we do not drop the ball on this."
A spokesman for Viagogo criticised the coverage of the re-selling of tickets for events such as the Rugby World Cup. He said that "some media outlets" have "selectively chosen higher-priced tickets on our platform for adult entry and compared them with children's tickets available in a less desirable seating area".
"It is important to point out that Viagogo is an open, online marketplace that does not buy or sell tickets. Instead, our mission is to make it possible for sellers to resell their tickets and for buyers to access tickets to any of the events that they wish to attend around the globe – whether it is a concert, sporting match or cultural event," he said.
Prices on Viagogo are set by the sellers, he said: "We abide by any laws regarding pricing of tickets for resale in a jurisdiction. These prices are not static and sellers will often change their prices to ensure they sell."
Viagogo claims that 50% of tickets sell "at or around face value" on the site.