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[June 2019]

Rise in the number of inquiries about trouble over online ticket resale

Local consumer affairs centers and the like across Japan have received more and more inquiries and complaints about online resale of tickets for concerts, sports tournaments or other events. The number of inquiries was 2,045 in FY2018, which is about 2.4 times of the number in FY2017, showing an increase of more than 1,000 from FY2017.

In Japan, the Rugby World Cup 2019™ will be held in 2019 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in 2020. There may be a further increase in the number of troubles related to online ticket resale.

Therefore, NCAC decided to introduce some typical cases and issue an alert to consumers on online ticket resale.

Diagram: Number of inquiries about online ticket resale1 registered to PIO-NET2
Graph showing the annual number of inquiries from FY2013 to FY2018, followed by description in text
The number of inquiries was 479 in FY2013, 491 in FY2014, 610 in FY2015, 710 in FY2016, 852 in FY2017, and 2,045 in FY2018.

  1. 1 The number of inquiries about online resale of tickets for concerts, sports tournaments, theatrical shows, movies, or other events (including interpersonal transactions, and those through internet auctions and online flea markets)
  2. 2 PIO-NET is a database that collects information on inquiries concerning consumer affairs by linking NCAC with local consumer affairs centers and similar organizations across Japan via an online network. The graph shows inquiries received from FY2013 to FY2018, registered through April 30, 2019.

Sampling of inquiries and complaints

Inquiry about a ticket resale website from a buyer

I bought a resale ticket on the Internet. Later, I found that the ticket resale was forbidden and the ticket might be invalid.
I bought a resale ticket to a concert of a popular rock band at 15,000 yen through a ticket resale website. Later I checked and found that it might not be possible to enter the concert venue with the resale ticket. The concert will be held in a rural area, and I have to pay for the accommodation and transportation. If I will not be able to enter the concert venue, the accommodation and transportation cost as well as the ticket cost will be a waste. If I had known even a slight risk of being refused to enter the venue, I would have not bought the ticket. When I accessed the ticket resale website, I did not find any clear indication about the risk.
(woman in her 30s)

In addition, there are some inquiries from sellers.

A buyer did not complete the process for buying a ticket, and I have not received payment from the ticket resale website.

There are other types of inquiries as follows.

Inquiry about a website very similar to the official ticketing website
When searching through a general search site, I thought a highly ranked site was the official ticketing site.
Inquiry about a transaction with a person who got acquainted with through an Internet forum
I have received an envelope from the seller, but the content was not a theater ticket which I had ordered.

Problems highlighted from sampling inquiries and complaints

  1. Common troubles: "I haven't received the resale ticket," "The resale ticket was found to be invalid."
  2. Some consumers thought a ticket resale website was the official ticketing website, and accidentally bought a ticket through the confusing website.
  3. It may be difficult to resolve trouble over transaction with a ticket resale site.
    • Ticket resale sites often state on terms of use that cancellation is not possible.
    • It is often the case that ticket resale websites do not intervene between users in case of dispute, which makes it difficult to resolve the dispute.
    • When a buyer was not able to enter the venue with a resale ticket, the damage may not be covered by the money-back guarantee of the ticket resale website.
  4. There is a high risk in transactions through Internet forums or someone who got acquainted with through SNS.

Advice for consumers

  1. Make sure that you are accessing the official ticketing website before purchasing a ticket.
  2. Before buying a resale ticket, read terms of use to check if ticket resale is prohibited.
  3. Do not resell any ticket illicitly.
  4. In case of trouble or concern, consult your local consumer affairs center.
  5. In case of suspicion of fraud, tell the police about the incident right away.

Request to businesses running ticket resale websites, Internet auctions or online flea markets

  1. Offer support for resolving disputes between users.
  2. If an event promoter prohibits transferring or reselling of tickets to third parties, the prohibited conducts should be clearly indicated and users should be fully informed of them, which will be helpful to avoid trouble.
  3. Terms of use should be modified to prohibit use of the websites by users who have purchased tickets for the purpose of resale and intend to resell them or those who intend to buy tickets for the purpose of resale. Users should be fully informed of the prohibited conducts. Online patrol should be enhanced to keep out users intending to resell.