German Court Caps Ticket Resale Price At 25 Percent Above Face Value, Viagogo Responds
The regional court in Hanover, Germany, has ruled that selling concert tickets at a price of more than 25 percent above the original price was anti-competitive. The judgement was effected by Germany’s federal association of the concert and event industry BDKV against the secondary market platform Ticketbande.
The ruling applies only in cases where tickets include a resale prohibition clause as well as a blank line for the ticket buyer to fill in their name. The prohibition on resale takes effect regardless of whether the name is actually entered in the blank line or the name imprint is checked and enforced during admission.
The reason for still including the blank-line provision into the ruling has to do with the fact that, by using named tickets, promoters indicate that only the person that bought the ticket should be granted access to the event, and that the right of access isn’t simply transferred to a third party by passing on the ticket, Dr. Johannes Ulbricht, attorney at the law firm Michow und Ulbricht, told Pollstar.
Ulbricht led the proceedings on behalf of BDKV. He added: “The verdict finally eliminates a crucial grey area in ticket sales. It brings the organisers a great step further in the fight against the commercial secondary market ticketing trade.
“Another crucial part of the ruling: the secondary market ticket platform is “fully liable in the event of a breach of the resale prohibition and cannot claim a fault on the seller’s part,” Ulbricht explained.
According to a statement released by BDKV, the judgment is of particular importance since it is not merely a ruling obtained as interim legal protection, but as part of the court’s main proceedings. “The Senate has examined the antitrust arguments and the submissions of the other side extremely carefully and has delivered a very satisfactory verdict,” Ulbricht concluded.
BDKV announced that it would continue “to resolutely fight the overpriced resale of tickets.”
Pollstar reached out to a viagogo, a resale company that has always maintained that it was perfectly legal to resell a ticket, or give it to someone else, irrespective of terms and conditions.
A viagogo spokesperson responded: “Price caps don’t work. Where price caps are imposed, people revert to reselling their tickets outside of venues or via online mediums which have no consumer protection such as Facebook, Twitter or on one of the fraudulent websites that regularly pops up.”
By: Gideon Gottfried on Pollstar.com