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German court makes key ruling on secondary-ticketing prices


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Attention in the debate about secondary ticketing and touting has shifted to Germany this week, where the Hanover regional court has made an important ruling.

According to the court, it is officially anti-competitive to sell concert tickets at a price more than 25% above the original cost. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by German promoters’ association BDKV against secondary site Ticketbande.

There is some nuance to the ruling: it only applies to tickets where the terms and conditions prohibit resale, and where the tickets have the name of the buyer on them. “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,” said Dr Johannes Ulbricht from legal firm Michow and Ulbricht, who acted for BDKV in the case. He added that the ruling applies even when there is a ‘blank line’ on the tickets for the buyer to fill their name in.

Another secondary site, Viagogo has criticised the ruling. “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,” a spokesperson told Pollstar.

Stuart Dredge

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