Ticket to ‘ride’

FEDERAL Perth MP Tim Hammond has backed a plan to crack down on robotic ticket scalpers following more shady deals, this time for former Beatle Paul McCartney’s Perth concert in December.

Automated “bots” slipped through a gap in Sir Paul’s website to snap up a large number of seats that had been intended for a limited pre-sale.

They’re now offering them at highly-inflated prices on third party ticketing websites.

Another scam tricks fans into thinking they’re buying tickets to see their favourite Beatle, but when they turn up it’s actually a tribute act.

“There is an enormous risk of misleading and deceptive conduct right here in our community every day when it comes to hardworking mums and dads, whether they want to go and see a rock concert or The Wiggles,” Mr Hammond told federal parliament.

• Which Paul McCartney have you bought tickets for? The gold-plated one, tribute act John Kater, or the one that died in 1966?

NSW Labor MP Tony Burke has moved a motion to crack down on robotic ticket scalping, and wants ticket websites like Viagogo, “that allow the selling of fake tickets and tickets that have been sold multiple times over” to be regulated.

“Only the first person to the gate on the day will get in the door,” he said.

Mr Hammond says the issue is affecting venues like the Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley, which has been upfront in its advertising of “tribute” acts, but cops a serve from angry patrons who’ve bought dodgy tickets from official-looking third party websites.

Recently one of the sites was offering tickets to McCartney at the Astor on July 22, but that’s when tribute act John Kater is booked to play.

“One would have no reasonable way of knowing that a consumer was purchasing a ticket to a tribute show, as opposed to ostensibly the real deal, once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of us who grew up loving the music of the Beatles, the Wings, and then Paul McCartney in his oft-maligned—in my view, for no good reason—solo career,” said Mr Hammond

“[Dodgy ticket selling] is a practice that not only harms consumers but also harms artist, and it also harms small communities and businesses like the Astor Theatre, who are unnecessarily targeted by disappointed consumers who mistakenly believe that there may be some culpability involved at the shopfront in relation to marketing something that people just are not expecting to receive”.

“Consumers want and deserve better protection. Artists want and deserve better protection. Primary ticket sellers want better protection.”

Mr Hammond added the US congress has passed the “Better Online Ticket Sales” Act, outlawing bulk-buying of tickets by bots for the purpose of reselling them at a profit.

by DAVID BELL

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