We also saw the wonderful atmosphere that it generated at the sporting events, as the legislation restricted the secondary market and helped more fans to get tickets. What a shame that we did not learn directly from that experience and create a positive legacy for all sporting events. I know that we often hear about the legacy benefits that the Games created, but in that area we certainly have yet to learn from that past experience. Today, we have an opportunity to make a difference. The amendments before us would not criminalise ticket touting. That is a debate for another day, although I hope it comes pretty soon. Instead, we can today provide more protection for fans who buy tickets and introduce more transparency into the arrangements. As others have said, it is an extension of measures that the Government already have and, for that reason, I am hoping that the Minister will accept the amendment.

The proposed new clause builds on existing government regulations by making requirements of certain ticket details that must be provided. To my mind, this is sensible. It will enable a sports fan to know the exact location of the seat that they are purchasing, its original cost and whether or not it is in the terms and conditions for that ticket to be transferred. This is important, as we know that fans are often grossly overcharged for tickets with no awareness that this is happening. In the most serious cases, the fan may not even get into the event they have bought the ticket for. If it is against those terms and conditions for the ticket to be resold, they find it invalid.

Will the Minister address this particular question when she replies? Can she explain why it is not in the interests of the consumer for them to be made aware whether it is within the terms and conditions of a ticket for that ticket to be transferred? Clearly, the basic principle is that to sell something that does not actually exist is wrong. This proposal would place no extra burden on consumers. For the seller, it would probably add seconds for the information that they have to provide when listing a ticket for sale—or if they have the technical ability, which I certainly do not, to take a snap of it on their smartphone and upload that picture to the online sales process.

Finally, as we have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, the amendments have the support of sporting organisations including the British Horseracing Board, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football Union and Wimbledon tennis. All of them have contacted me—and others, I am sure—to say how it would help them to meet their objectives of protecting their sporting events for the many and not

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the few. I urge the Minister to accept the amendments before her. In future all sports fans could have greater protection to see their favourite sporting events not being marred by the unscrupulous, who currently are content to see genuine sporting fans being ripped off.

Lord Borwick: My Lords, very few secondary markets are perfect but they are certainly welcome in that they provide liquidity to the primary market. These amendments on secondary ticketing platforms would get in the way of the primary market. When somebody buys a ticket for an event, they are investing in something that is often way into the future. Tickets for big shows are often released a year in advance or more, so buying tickets to such events strikes me as a rather entrepreneurial activity. It is risk-taking: you cannot know whether you will enjoy the show or event and there are no reviews to read or critics to listen to. Yet if you decide that you cannot go to the event or change your mind, it is a good thing that there are proper secondary platforms developing to sell those tickets. These amendments would mean that people would think twice about that risk of buying tickets in the first place. They would be distortionary.

The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, mentioned botnets. I think they were also mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, with whom I entirely agreed on his earlier amendment. I am afraid that I disagree with him now because surely there are very good pieces of software that can stop the purchasing where computers buy automatically. Those aggravating things where you have to fill in a distorted word to prove that you are human can stop the botnets.

The noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint, talked about her aggravation that somebody was paying £4,000 for a ticket to a cricket match. I am aggravated that that £4,000 is not going to the cricket club but rather to somebody else. If somebody is prepared to pay £4,000 for a ticket to a cricket match, why is the cricket club not charging that figure? That money would then go to the sport rather than to somebody else. Of course, the real problem is the ticket touts outside railway stations or on street corners who are selling outright fake tickets or perhaps their electronic equivalents. Selling electronic tickets or trading on the street without a licence is illegal; there is already legislation to deal with this problem. The secondary platforms are already ensuring that resold tickets are valid. They usually insist that the face value of the original ticket is stated during the transaction. The market is providing solutions. We do not need new legislation and new burdens. In any case, these amendments would hit the good guys instead of the bad guys.

Lord Moynihan (Con): My Lords, I shall speak to Amendments 28 to 31, standing in the name of my noble friends Lady Heyhoe Flint and Lord Clement-Jones. I see significant merits in Amendments 26 and 27, which I would support had we not tabled our own amendments to effectively the same objective.

In the spirit of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, and my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint, I begin with the question: what is a consumer? In the context of the amendments before us, the answer is a sports fan.

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It is a rare occasion for the title of a Bill fully and concisely to reflect its intentions. On this occasion, the Consumer Rights Bill achieves that objective: it is a Bill about consumers and it rightly seeks to protect and, where appropriate, strengthen consumer rights. It is a Bill that addresses inadequacies in consumer protection and derives its strength from addressing malpractice against consumers, who can be exploited by loopholes in the law or interpretations of it which, without legal backing, can lead to the exploitation of consumer interests for commercial gain. It is therefore important in the context of these amendments to recognise that, in every sense, consumers are sports fans.

The amendments should be seen as a constructive step towards protecting the interests of fans. As my noble friend has said, they would make it a specific requirement that a fan buying a ticket must be informed of the terms and conditions of the transfer of the seat to them.

This was a key issue for us when hosting the Olympic Games. The subject of ticketing gained prominence for two reasons. The first was a decision made by the International Olympic Committee not to provide a ticketing platform, a platform that incrementally built on the experience of previous Games. The IOC Games department took the view that each host city should start from scratch and that the role of the IOC in this context would be purely advisory. I made my view very clear at the time: that ticketing each and every event at an Olympic and Paralympic Games, while taking into account the myriad contractual requirements of the IOC and the Olympic family for free tickets, required a platform built on experience and expertise that should be refined and improved by each host city, not one that is reinvented every four years. A pattern will emerge of the demand by the world’s athletes for free tickets, greatest—not surprisingly—after they have completed their events. I believe that, had that been in place, we would not have faced at the beginning of the Games the issue of empty seats in areas allocated for the Olympic family.

The second reason emanated from the legal framework for the Games and is directly relevant to these amendments. The Olympic legislation was introduced by this Government specifically to protect fans who sought to buy tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Government were initially nervous about addressing this issue at the time. Historically, they had consistently taken a position that the resolution of any problems through voluntary action by the market participants was strongly to be preferred; that new regulation would be considered only as a last resort, even for the Olympics, and only where there was clear evidence that it was in the public interest; and that new regulation and the associated cost of enforcement were likely to impose greater burdens and restrictions of consumer choice as compared to market-led solutions.

However, the Government, along with the police, the fans and the organisers of the Olympic Games, collectively took a very different view after the Olympic Games were over and they had time to reflect on the effectiveness or otherwise of the legislation that had been put in place. In that context, I say to my noble friend in sport, the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, that I

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believe the Government learnt a lesson that I hope they will not go back on as a result of the experience that was derived from those Games.

7 pm

I will quote from the Government’s response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report on ticket touting, which I will bring to the attention of the Committee in a moment. More relevant to what I am saying now is their response after the Games on the sale of tickets:

“The legislation provided a powerful signal of intent to deal seriously with the issue of unauthorised sales of Olympic tickets. The increased maximum penalty fine level of £20,000 was regarded as a strong deterrent against the threat of organised criminal ticket touting activity at the Games. The legislation formed part of the response to this threat and was regarded as an effective deterrent when used in conjunction with the other preventative and disruptive actions taken by the police against organised crime groups involved in ticket touting. Reference to the 2011 Act and the £20,000 penalty fine also formed a useful part of the Metropolitan Police’s pre-Games communications with companies involved in the secondary ticket market”.

I emphasise that point because the Government took a very clear view that the legislation provided a powerful signal of intent to deal seriously with the issue of unauthorised sales of Olympic tickets.

The level of crime behind this is important as well. I will quote the Government on that:

“The Metropolitan Police reported that there were about two hundred arrests nationally … for the unauthorised selling of tickets … during the Olympics and none during the Paralympics. This was for two high profile events over 17 days and 10 days, respectively, with a total of nearly 11 million tickets available and a huge level of demand from the public. By comparison, for a single high profile premier league game there could be (depending on the level of policing) circa 30 arrests of ticket touts. In addition, the Met reported that there was little day to day organised ticket touting activity at Olympic venues. There are”—

again, this is a quote from the Government—

“around a thousand known ‘professionals’ involved in ticket crime (ranging from touts to fraudsters) across the UK”.

That is not insignificant. It is a major issue, and one that ultimately impacts directly on the sports fans who buy tickets. The report continues:

“Only a handful came to the Games”—

under the legislation that was in place—

“and all were arrested. There were no counterfeit tickets recovered or reported at Games venues”.

I suggest to the Minister that such an endorsement by the Government, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, should be taken seriously. The DCMS, through its endorsement of this legislation, logically opened the door to similar legislation for more sports than an Olympics or football, which is covered by separate legislation. Protection for fans could be extended to all events recognised by the Government in receipt of lottery or Treasury funding and support, or to events clearly identified by the Government as critical to the success of the “decade of British sport”, to which the Prime Minister and indeed the Opposition rightly attach priority.

However, our position today is nothing like as draconian as the legislation that some people saw as relevant and successful for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The proposal today is not to ban secondary

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ticketing but to mitigate the potential for dishonesty and fraud by focusing on transparency and the legally binding provision for information. That is a small step in the right direction. It is not asking to go as far as implementing the Olympic legislation, which was referred to earlier in this exchange of views in Committee—although there would be merit in considering that, if we cannot persuade the Government to take this very small but important step in support of sports fans.

The reasons have been well rehearsed today. Under current legislation, consumers are the losers. Consumers deserve a better deal. We are also increasingly behind the curve in this area, given what other countries are doing, such as Australia and the United States. I would focus the Government’s attention on the state of New South Wales, in particular, which is once again overtaking us, as it has on gaming laws.

The well-intentioned guidance that we have heard about has been tried and tested and has failed. As my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones noted, it has not had the effect sought by the Government. Ticket touting has significant connections with organised crime, with, as I mentioned, more than 1,000 professionals involved in ticket crime. The figure of over 1,000 is the Government’s figure that I cited earlier.

Sport wants these changes. Today’s campaign has been led by a whole range of our major spectator sports and supported by Nick Bitel, one of the UK’s leading sports administrators and an eminent sports lawyer in his own right, who is also a powerful advocate for change.

Following the Games, the Government were going to deal with this under the major events legislation promised by DCMS, for which we are still waiting. In the absence of that, I contend that it is opportune for us to focus on the matter in the Bill and make this small but significant change to protect the interests of the consumers—sports fans. Currently, fans continue to be detrimentally affected. Only last month, we heard of the queues forming at the entrance to Gleneagles for the Ryder Cup. Unknowingly, fans were in possession of forged tickets. They had inadequate means of checking the validity of the tickets because the people selling them could legally ignore government advice and fail to provide the information required to demonstrate the validity of those tickets.

Where ticket touting exists—by, frankly, ignoring government guidance—sport suffers from reputational damage. That has a negative effect both on sports fans —the consumers—and on our chances to secure further international events on our shores, as the Olympic and Paralympic Games served to inspire a generation.

All we are seeking is to make the guidance, which is good, legally binding. Those are the issues on which the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, and I have been campaigning for exactly 20 years—since 1994, when we were considerably younger voices for sport. Mind you, we were not without success at the outset, when we secured an amendment tabled in your Lordships’ House in 1994 specifically with regard to football on the grounds of public order consequences.

I am sure that the Minister will support the amendments and the reasoning behind them that we have put to her today, but if by chance she were not to

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do so, she might consider extending the legislation on the statute book that allows the Home Secretary to take action on this front on a wider scale than just within the sport of football. In the context of Lord Justice Taylor’s report, I would argue that ticket touting and lax controls are often the precursor to public order offences at sporting grounds. However, my noble friend has a better route to follow today: to accept the amendments and let the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, and me have a second opportunity to celebrate successful moves to protect the interests of sports fans and the governing bodies that put on these events.

I see no reason why we should not build on experience of the Games in Committee and, through consensus, avoid taking the amendments to a vote at Report or Third Reading. In my experience in your Lordships’ House, well thought through legislation on sport builds all-party consensus and secures the support of the House. In sport, that has been in no small measure due to the work of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, who has been a consistent friend of sport, along with my noble friend in sport, the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, the best Minister for Sport this country never had. Together with the work of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson—who, incidentally, is en route to this Committee from a speaking engagement in Cardiff, and offers her apologies if she does not make it—the indefatigable noble Lord, Lord Addington, the forensic mindset of the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and the assiduous work of my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint, they provide a powerful cross-party voice in your Lordships’ House for sport. I hope that their agreement on this key issue of how to protect the consumer, the sports fan, will be carefully considered by the Minister.

Lord Addington (LD): My Lords, I was debating whether or not I should speak but, having been told that I am expected to, I think that I probably have to. I should declare a couple of interests. Probably the most important one is that I am a lifelong rugby player. Even now at this advancing age I still occasionally don a jersey and wander around the pitch—I would say “run” but wandering is a bit closer to it now.

One of the first points made by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, was that if you are generating income from these major events, at least some of it—as much of it as possible—should go to the grass roots, and many of the events that we are talking about do that.

Then there was the other major point about the fact that by touting in this way you are devaluing the event for the fan, the people who often actually make it a special event. To talk about Rugby Union, and I thank the RFU for once or twice giving me tickets, I would say that makes those games so special is the fans, so you are actually damaging your base if you allow these things to happen. These people do not go to an “event”; they are going to watch a sport and give some enthusiasm. That will be helped by this amendment; you will help to build it up and layer it through. Please pay attention to this.

The Government have been given—what shall we say?—a very moderate set of proposals. Any one of these amendments, or any combination of them, could

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probably achieve a great deal to make the situation slightly better. That is all we are asking for—to try to make it slightly better and preserve what is important. That is about all that we can hope for. As my noble friend Lord Moynihan has pointed out, we have tried and succeeded with a more draconian system for an event that was at the top of sporting demand, the Olympics, so surely having something here that at least gave greater certainty could not hurt.

Lord Stoneham of Droxford (LD): My Lords, I am somewhat reluctant to go slightly against the tide in the face of noble Lords who I greatly admire in the sporting world speaking here today. I have great sympathy with what my noble friends Lord Clement-Jones and Lord Moynihan, the noble Lord, Lord Hendry, and my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint said about the war on ticket touts; I support that, and I support the values in it. However, we have to ask a number of specific questions about these amendments and what this legislation can actually do.

Most authorised resale ticket sites give guarantees on the validity of tickets or provide a value back if the tickets are not valid. One of the issues is how we get people to use those sites more. We do not want to upset anyone to move away from them, which would be into the hands of people who are fraudulent and are trying to break the system.

The other thing that is very important is that the public want the opportunity to resell and buy in the secondary market. This is particularly important when tickets are being sold a year ahead of the event. Another problem is that often the tickets are not issued until six weeks or so before the event, so some of the information that might be required in the resale market might not be available.

There is already considerable legislation against fraud and against competition and there are issues of restraint of trade, all of which need to be taken into account. We also have to ask ourselves why this primary legislation is being asked to make specific requirements in one sector. Should it be doing that? Should we not have more embracing legislation that deals with this issue? All the recognised operators have an interest in preventing fraud; that is what actually protects their brand, as any fraud inevitably undermines their genuine business.

There is an issue with sellers providing information, particularly individual consumers. I am not sure that I want my name going on a ticket that I might have had if it has gone through a recognised secondary provider—in fact, I certainly would not want that. So the guarantee is the key, as is establishing that the tickets are valid.

7.15 pm

One of the things that the Government should respond to in this debate, and I am sure they will, is the question of what they are going to do to deal with these automated computer programs, and what legislation they are prepared to consider. That is probably a more effective means of dealing with this problem than just providing more information and putting a greater burden on those who are actually trying to work through the authorised resale market.

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Secondary markets provide an opportunity for fans to buy tickets, and we should recognise that there is overwhelming public support for some form of resale system. Markets move up and down, so secondary markets do not just deal with higher prices; they also have to deal when the price has gone down. I have already asked whether this is an appropriate place to have specific legislation that deals with one sector that is actually more complex than just asking for more information.

On transparency, the recognised providers already provide the face value of the ticket and the location of the seat when it is known and available, as well as information on any restrictions. If we start asking for more information, that might become disproportionate and it runs the risk of driving the fraudulent market overseas, which would be more difficult to control. There are a number of issues that have to be taken into account in considering this amendment before we can give it support.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe: My Lords, we have heard a range of detailed and informed comments during this debate and I thank all noble Lords for their contributions, to which I have listened very carefully; it was good to have a variety of points made, and I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken. I am also grateful to the various sports, music and ticketing businesses that have spent time briefing me and the Government on these issues. In fact I should probably declare an interest as a big sports fan and a mother of cricketers.

Given the breadth of this issue and the different angles that people are coming from, I will divide my response into the two main types of sales in this market: sales from a trader to a consumer, and sales between consumers. I will then touch on the issue in Amendment 30 concerning refunds and compensation.

Before I do that, I shall briefly address the philosophical question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, of whether a ticket—because it is either a goods item or an intangible legal right—is even capable of being sold on or transferred. The answer is that it is possible for a ticket to be defined either way. However, I am advised that this is ultimately a matter for judicial consideration, so it is not appropriate to attempt a determination in this Bill, or indeed for the Government to state publicly how we think a court would or should determine that question.

I turn to Amendments 26, 28 and 29 on business-to-consumer sales. I reassure the Committee that when traders sell to consumers there are already rules in place to ensure that consumers are aware who they are buying from and what they are buying. My noble friend Lord Clement-Jones said that the market was not subject to the same rules on transparency as other sectors, but this is simply not the case. The ticketing market is subject to consumer laws, including information requirements, to the same extent as any other retail sector.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, to which my noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint referred, set out clearly in list form what information must be provided. For distance and online sales, such as ticket sales, that includes the price, the identity of the trader, contact details for the trader and the main characteristics of

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the ticket. In fact, there are no fewer than 24 information requirements on that list covering all the information that the consumer needs to make an informed decision.

In guidance on the regulations, we have included a specific paragraph on how the information requirements apply to tickets. I can quote directly from the guidance to reassure your Lordships that much of the information listed in the amendment is already required. The guidance states:

“Information on the main characteristics of the tickets and their total price (including delivery costs and other charges) must be given to the consumer in a clear and comprehensible way before the consumer purchases the ticket … For a ticket associated with a particular reserved seat (e.g. Seat 1, Row A) the seat number is a main characteristic”.

The regulations build on existing consumer law. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 protect consumers from being misled into a purchase by a trader.

The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked about the October regulations. They are the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014; is that right?

Lord Clement-Jones: I did, but before my noble friend moves on to that, I quoted from the guidance and pointed out that, effectively, this is voluntary. The guidance states:

“Main characteristics include (if known to you)”.

I directly quoted from the regulations, as well. My noble friend has cited other parts of the guidance, but that is the crucial part.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe: I thank the noble Lord for that clarification. Perhaps I can continue to address the trader side. Where a consumer is sold a ticket that is claimed to be on the front row, for example, which turns out to be on the back row, that would breach the 2008 regulations. Advertising for sale a ticket that a trader is not in a position to sell because the ticket is either not available through the primary outlet yet or because the trader is awaiting the outcome of a ballot would also be a breach of the regulations, as well as a potential Fraud Act offence. Criminal penalties reinforce the legislation. A trader or a marketplace can be subject to a fine or even imprisonment if these regulations are breached. In conclusion, we believe that there is already sufficient law in place to ensure that consumers have all the information they need about what they are buying before they buy from a trader.

The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, asked about botnets. A range of offences is available to law enforcement to tackle the fraudulent sale of tickets and the criminal harvesting of tickets from online ticket sales. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 sets out the framework of offences associated with interfering with a computer, including the criminal use of tools or articles to commit a computer misuse offence, such as a botnet. It was good to hear from my noble friend Lord Borwick that he believes that we are on the way to solving the botnet problem.

The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, also asserted that there is evidence of large-scale criminal activity. We disagree. Europe Economics found that 90% of sales are by consumers such as you or me. There is already a

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strong framework to deal with criminality, such as fraud and money-laundering laws, which the noble Lord mentioned, that might take place in a market. Additional legislation for ticket marketing would not address such criminal activity. Obviously it is important to work with the police and other enforcement authorities, and we will review the data that the noble Lord asked for to see what up-to-date data we have. I will write to him on that point.

My noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint said, “Will the Minister look at the websites?”. I will, but the enforcement of the law is for the CMA and trading standards. We have done some research. These sites already require key information to be given. All these sites have money-back guarantees. Most ticket transactions pass without problem—it is over 90%—so I think progress has been made there.

My noble friend Lord Moynihan gave us a very interesting summary of his experience with the Olympics—that wonderful summer which we all enjoyed in the brilliant sunshine, and the success of the Games. Indeed, as he described, it was very successful in terms of ticket sales, although of course there were some gaps in the audience, which was a sadness for consumers who would have liked to have been sitting in those seats. A ticket resale regime was a condition for hosting the Olympic Games. We brought that in and said at the time that such cases have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. I do not think that my noble friend was suggesting that this should be extended widely but he was asking us to consider that issue.

My noble friend Lord Moynihan also asserted that other countries had found a good way to regulate ticket sales. Our finding is that the evidence is mixed. New South Wales has a draft Fair Trading Amendment (Ticket Reselling) Bill restricting ticket resales, and we do not yet know its impact. As we understand it, these new restrictions are not the same as those in one of the amendments under discussion today. We have also seen press reports arguing that Queensland’s anti-scalping laws, as I think they call them, have had little effect. However, obviously we will keep those under review.

I have tried to talk about traders. I should now like to turn to the subject of Amendments 26, 28 and 29, which is consumer-to-consumer sales. We want consumers to be active and empowered in the market as buyers and sellers. It is a fact of life that sometimes consumers have a ticket that they cannot use. At this time of year I might buy tickets for my husband, a son and myself for a classical concert in the Royal Parks next summer. If my husband is taken ill six months later and cannot attend, I need to resell the ticket. That means that I can get my money back and it gives other consumers the chance to attend the sold-out event. We see no need to restrict this. Consumers should be able to freely and easily resell in this way tickets that they cannot use; my noble friend Lord Borwick made this point very well. The OFT has said that secondary agents can,

“provide a useful function for consumers who need tickets for events and are willing and able to pay premium prices”.

My noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint asked about the impact of her amendment and how to build on the 2013 regulations. I shall try to answer. We know that

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over 70% of consumers think that they should be able to resell their tickets. Not only is it the right thing to do to allow this market to operate, but that statistic also indicates that if we restricted the legitimate resale market, consumers would find other ways to sell on the black or grey markets. We also know that consumers care about protecting their data and identity online. The Communications Consumer Panel reports that nearly two-thirds of social network users said that they had a high level of concern about the use of information from profiles by companies. In that same survey, the largest top-of-mind concern related to the safety of personal details or ID theft, with just over one-quarter of internet users spontaneously mentioning it.

Most consumers would not be comfortable having their contact details prominently displayed on a website. I am not sure I would like that—but I am sure I am not the only one who already receives too much junk mail. Consumers want to sell online and to protect their personal data. The current regulatory system allows that, while protecting consumers when they buy from traders.

7.30 pm

My noble friend Lady Heyhoe Flint also asked whether individuals selling a large number of tickets to a trader did so as traders or as consumers. If an individual is selling a significant number of tickets as a commercial enterprise—that is, to make profit—they are highly likely to be classified as a trader under existing legislation. This will obviously turn on the circumstances of each case, but it is a key point.

I will now comment on the provision of information. Legislation is already in place to ensure consumers get the information they need when buying from traders. When consumers buy and sell with other consumers they should, in contrast, be allowed to do so without burdensome regulation. That would be my summary on that point.

On the question of refunds and damages, my noble friends who have tabled Amendment 30 raise a valid point: consumers who have been sold something which is not what it claimed to be should have access to redress. However, the change proposed risks a perverse impact on the market. For example, it would mean that consumers would have an incentive to use the resale market, rather than the primary market, where the ticket price is rarely refunded, never mind the additional costs. Instead of going to the All England Lawn Tennis Club for their tickets, they would go straight to the secondary market. We do not want to influence consumers’ decisions in that way. We also need to consider how rogue traders might react: would they just sell tickets that do not exist or are not what they say they are, knowing that the marketplace would have to refund the consumer? Again, we do not want to encourage that.

Let me reassure the Committee that consumers are already protected, either in legislation or through voluntary industry measures. All four main online marketplaces have refund policies in place; where a ticket bought on these sites turns out to be invalid they will refund or replace the ticket. Some make this easier for the consumer by not charging them until after the event. My noble friend Lord Stoneham spoke interestingly about the role these sites now play in honest resale. In addition,

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thanks to new legislation brought in by the Government, consumers now have a private right to seek redress—including damages—if they are misled into a purchase. I am pleased to reassure the Committee that industry has already taken action. I am not convinced it would be appropriate to go further, certainly in the terms proposed in Amendment 30.

It was good to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Pendry, in view of all that he has done for football. He spoke about Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. That provision has not been extended to cover other sporting events as there is no comparable public order threat. Incidents of violence and disorder are now very rare at sporting events other than football. The Home Office keeps this situation under review through the UK football policing unit and at European level. However, it is not appropriate to confuse public order legislation with the protection of commercial interests or event integrity of the kind that we are debating.

I have spoken at length. It has been a very good debate. As the noble Lords, Lord Stevenson and Lord Pendry, and my noble friend Lord Moynihan have all said, this matter has a long history and lots of legislation already exists. As a result, there is already a significant level of consumer protection in place, some of which is very recent, including voluntary action by the industry itself. I will of course read Hansardcarefully, but it feels as though we have enough legislation. I would ask that the amendment be withdrawn.

Lord Clement-Jones: Before the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, responds, I want to make just a couple of comments. I, of course, also will read Hansard carefully. I am somewhat disappointed because I am not sure that the voices in the debate have been heard clearly. I feel that somewhat of the straw man or Aunt Sally is being erected here as if the proponents of these amendments are trying to restrict the secondary market and prevent resale. My noble friend Lord Stoneham talked about restraint of trade. I thought that that was quite extraordinary and that we were almost in the realms of the EU or something. That is not the intention; nor is it the intention to drive people away from the event organisers to the secondary market. I do not believe that that would be the impact of what we are talking about here; that is, to get the benefit of a guarantee delivered by a secondary market in the possible event that a ticket is invalid or fraudulent. Surely, when you buy it from the event organiser, you know that it jolly well is not fraudulent or invalid. I am not really sure about that argument.

I could say many other things. As to the whole notion of the secondary market being entrepreneurial, if you know that a major sporting event is coming down the track, I do not know how entrepreneurial you have to be to reckon that a ticket for the World Cup is worth money and will be worth a great deal more money the nearer the time. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Borwick, is a great friend of entrepreneurs but there is entrepreneurialism and entrepreneurialism, in my view, in all of this. I think that a little bit of a splendid smokescreen is being erected around this issue. However, I take it from what

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my noble friend has said that there is an issue about the information given about an ordinary seller who is an ordinary consumer who has bought a ticket and wants to resell it, and the whole of their history is revealed for all to see on the secondary market. That is a perfectly valid objection and it may be a bridge too far. But there are many other aspects of these amendments which are extremely important.

My noble friend prayed in aid the regulations. The fact is that they are there but they are not adequate. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for using the word “forensic”. If you look at the impact of these consumer regulations, you see that they are not sufficient to drive good behaviour, which is all that we are talking about in these circumstances. The main four resellers in the secondary market may well do what they can. They do not always publicise exactly what the tickets relate to. There may be merit in considering some sort of regulation where consumers do not have to pay for their tickets until the identity is known. It may be that you need a condition precedent: for example, having made the reservation, the consumer perhaps should not have to pay until the seat number can be stated. It is perfectly possible to think of a situation where that would be a valid way of behaving.

I will chew over what my noble friend has said but we have quite a bit more discussion to take place. Clearly, she recognises the strength of feeling in Committee. I think that this is a matter that we will take further during the course of the Bill.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara: My Lords, I share the disappointment that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, expressed at the response to the debate. It was a very high-quality debate with some very important and influential speakers with track records and experience. It is not so much that their points were rebutted—that is what Governments do—but to have them rebutted in such an inventive way seems to me to trivialise what is an important point. We need to think very hard about what the next steps in this should be. For example, the Government do not seem to have a view on my genuine question of what a ticket is, yet they are regulating out of their ears—or that is what they say they are doing. To do so on the basis of not knowing what the central point is seems to be specious in the extreme. If they do not know what a ticket is, is it any wonder that the regulations do not do the trick?

It is absolutely clear from what has been said today and from the evidence that we have received that the current regulatory structure is a bit of a joke. It does not do what it is required to do: to make an efficient market for those who are trying to sell tickets for events they are running and for those who wish to attend them in a genuine capacity. It is not catching all the activity that is going through. The Government say that it is designed for traders, but somehow consumers are in a different category. I do not think that distinction stands up in what we are doing.

The guidance that has been issued has been tried and tested already and is clearly failing. It does not work. We need to do something about that. Under the regulations that have been in force since June 2014, I have been told by several sports bodies that no tickets

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that they can find on sale have the seat numbers or seller details provided. Are we to believe that no tickets at all are being sold by these traders? I do not think so.

Also, what exactly is a trader? During her response the Minister seemed to imply that there would be a case for arguing that people who bought tickets in excess of their personal demand could be treated as traders. If that is the situation, why do we not say that in regulatory form so that it is clear? It is currently up to the seller to define whether they are a trader or a consumer. In the example given by the noble Baroness, Lady Heyhoe Flint, the BA pilot who was caught selling several hundred Ashes tickets would definitely have been a trader by any definition yet was not prosecuted in that way. This is largely about consumer protection. Consumers are not going to be concerned about whether their ticket is coming from a trader or a consumer. They should have the right to know what they are buying. That is the basis of all the consumer discussions we have had on the Bill so far. It seems odd to carve this out in a different way.

I take the view that, if the Government are not going to outlaw secondary ticketing—I do not think they should—they must regulate properly for what they want: the desirable things, the things that will help the sports and help consumers. That will help to create a proper and open arrangement that is not susceptible to criminal activity of the type that we heard about from the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, but which seemed to be rebutted by the Minister when she responded. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said that there were about 1,000 people involved in criminal activity from known facts as a result of the Government’s investigations into the Olympic and Paralympic Games. What exactly is she saying if she says that some economists say that there is not any criminal activity because it was consumers who were buying the tickets? Of course it was consumers who were buying them,

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but if they were arriving through some form of criminal gang activity, that is not a very satisfactory situation.

As was made very clear in the debates, the amendments taken together give a range of options for the Government to look at. That is a rich opportunity for the Government to come back with something sensible at later stages in the Bill. We are not saying that there is a particular solution to this; there is a range of things that the Government could do. We are tending not to be draconian. We are not insisting on banning secondary ticketing; we are trying to say that there is a gap here in expectation. The genuine fan, the keen person who wishes to go to an activity but cannot access tickets at the beginning of the process and has to pay over the odds for them, is not well served by the information requirements. This simply is not working well. It could be changed through very minor regulatory change. It should be in the Bill because it is clear that the secondary legislation is not working. I really cannot understand why the Government are happy to be accused of standing by while consumers are being exploited.

We will undoubtedly return to this. I hope that between now and when this matter comes back on Report there may be an opportunity to have a further, more in-depth discussion with the Minister where we might get further down the line on this. In the interim, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 26 withdrawn.

Amendments 27 to 31 not moved.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe: My Lords, this may be a convenient moment for the Committee to adjourn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Pitkeathley) (Lab): The Committee stands adjourned.

Committee adjourned at 7.45 pm.