Ticketmaster encouraging ticket scalping

Elton John tickets went up for sale in Tassie last week and were sold out in just 8 minutes. Not long afterwards, scalpers were reselling the tickets at highly inflated prices via Ticketmaster’s own reselling website. Obviously Ticketmaster isn’t going to try and restrict the practice of scalping because it means they can double dip on their share of each ticket. They get their initial commission for selling the original ticket, and then they get the extra fees that they charge when someone purchases the scalped ticket through them. I presume it’s based on a percentage of the resale price, so they’re not going to be discouraging anyone from asking for more than what the ticket was originally worth as higher scalper prices mean higher dollar amount when the percentage cut is taken from it all as a reselling fee.

Apparently the Australian government is looking into creating laws to help prevent scalping, but it only goes as far as making it illegal for scalpers to use bots (computer programs) to purchase the tickets in bulk, where the main problem in this case is with Ticketmaster encouraging the resale of tickets at inflated prices by giving the scalpers a platform they can use to legally do this. What the government needs to do is to make it illegal for the tickets to be sold for a profit and to cap resales at the face values they were originally purchased for. This would give anyone who’s purchased a ticket and finds they can no longer attend the show a way to resell their ticket, but will also stop scalpers from actually being able to make a profit from reselling the tickets that they had no intention of using to see the show themselves.

I know a few people who signed up with Ticketmaster to be offered the chance to purchase tickets a few days early, but this didn’t help, as the scalpers were also signed up for this service and most likely used their bots to get in first and grab as many tickets for themselves as possible. So after all of eight minutes, all tickets were sold and the scalpers were already reposting them for sale via the Ticketmaster resale site. The only people to make a profit from the resales are the scalpers and Ticketmaster as the reselling agent. The performer gets no additional money out of it at all. We need consumer laws in place that regulate this to stop the rip off.

As a result of the lack of regulations on scalping my adult step-son, who is on the Autism spectrum, can’t go to the show as tickets could not be purchased from the original sales outlet by his aunt who was online and trying to find a place in the queue when the tickets were initially put up for sale, and we refuse to pay the inflated price to help encourage the scalper who’s trying to sell us one of their overpriced tickets for a massive profit. They will however most likely sell their tickets as there will be people who are wiling to pay the inflated price in order to see the show.

As for the Government trying to stop scalpers from using bots, this doesn’t restrict them from selling tickets at highly inflated prices if they purchase them without the use of bots. It’s like when the GST came in and there was a big political argument about hot and cold chickens because the legislation stated that cold chickens were exempt from the GST. If only the government had enough sense to write cooked or raw chickens instead of hot and cold chickens, it would have saved a lot of wasted time in parliament whilst they bickered with each other about whether the shop owners needed to pop a thermometer into a cooked chicken before deciding if it was GST exempt or not. In this case though, they’re attempting to write legislation that will restrict the way scalpers make their purchases, but doesn’t restrict them from reselling the tickets at an inflated price. Is it really that hard for acting governments to know how to word their legislation proposals so that the laws actually do what the legislation was created for in the first place?


You’re right, @NubglummerySnr - there’s a lot of problems in this industry. I’m assuming you’ve seen @dangraham’s piece on ticket scalping and resale websites up on the CHOICE website recently?

We’re waiting to hear back from the ACCC on our complaint which we submitted in the last few weeks. Hopefully there will be some action on this issue.

@dangraham will have more to add on this though I’m sure!

1 Like

The other side of the coin is enforcement. Queensland might be able to boast the most wide-ranging anti-scalping laws in the country, but as far as I’m aware there haven’t been an prosecutions since they were introduced in 2006.

Part of the problem is that states have jurisdiction over ticket selling. All the federal government seems to be able to do is this bot legislation, since it comes under its communications responsibilities. Now that scalping has moved almost entirely online I’d hope the Commonwealth might be able to step in, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Until that happens, there are “ethical” resale websites in Europe which restrict the markup amount, and take a smaller percentage of the sale for themselves. I know of at least one that is thinking of setting up shop in Australia soon. It might not put the Viagogos and Ticketmaster Resales out of business, but hopefully consumers will vote with their feet and we’ll see these scalper havens improve their practices.


Only when people are prepared to go without and stop buying from these scalpers will they go out of business. Our government couldn’t give a hoot.

1 Like

You assume wrong. Thanks for the link to the article. I’ve just read it. The article confirms my own thoughts on the situation. This is one of those times where regulations need to be implemented in consumer laws because the industry itself is not actually helping to solve any problems, especially when they can double dip by claiming a percentage of the resold tickets, or cancel a scalped ticket in order to sell it back to the person who got duped for full price, which means they’ve now collected twice the amount of money the ticket was worth and get to keep all the money from the resale as they’ve already paid the artist’s their fees from the original sale.


I like the US system you can re-sell your ticket (including season ticket seat for just one match etc) but it cannot be above cost of what an original ticket would have cost (hence you just get the scalpers on foot selling at/near gates).

Being able to re-sell above cost via the same system that sells the original tickets is highly corrupt.


And their transaction fees are a rip off too.

1 Like

I know of recent times Choice have touched on how people are getting conned by purchasing tickets on bad sites and on re-sale.Heard their were issues again at the Ed Sheeran concert people being turned away.Now with the AFL Season close to getting under way Ticketek Resale are up to their old tricks again.Referring as a example Melbourne V Geelong at the MCG on the Resale part they are basically charging people a extra $30-$40 more for a ticket.I wouldn’t be surprised when the game gets closer those tickets will go back to the normal Ticketek site and the price will drop.Only purchase tickets from Ticketek.Other alternatives your asking for trouble


Wink and nod oversight and businesses doing what businesses often do. Some apparently take after a certain Macaw in the UK.