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Your Views: Should scalping be banned for events like BDO?

The promoter of the Big Day Out wants an anti-scalping bill for sports occasions to be extended to large-scale musical events so concertgoers can be protected too.

This forum debate has now closed. Here is a selection of your views on the topic.

Matt
There is a fairly simple way of preventing scalping which has finally been employed by those staging the Glastonbury Festival over here in the UK.Those people wishing to purchase tickets were made to register and provide a photograph months before tickets for the event went on sale. When tickets were released for sale this month, buyers could only purchase 4 tickets and had to provide registration details for all ticket-holders. From the Glastonbury website:"All tickets will be personalised with a full colour facial image submitted during the registration process and checks will be made at the gates. If you are clearly not the person whose face is printed on the ticket you will be denied entry." Sure, some investment is needed to set this type of system up, but if promoters are really serious about preventing scalping then it will be a no-brainer.

Dee
Love how examples of scalping being banned in other countries were used as reasons for why this bill should be passed (such as the Football World Cup in Germany).

I was there and just 200m from the stadium in Berlin there were many scalpers. Yes, whilst you might remove the main vehicle for scalping (ie Trade Me), without having anyone to enforce it, it is useless. People will just list buy this apple for $100 and receive a free ticket to U2

Adrian LarsenThe mere fact that tickets are being resold by scalpers for increased prices shows that the tickets are under-priced to begin with. This is no mistake by the organisers - events often have an unpredictable turnout, and the organisers would rather sell tickets below their fair value and have the venue over-subscribed than have a stadium only half full of people. This is how they deal with this risk, though it means that they inevitably create a secondary market in these underpriced tickets for the scalpers. If they wanted to undercut the scalpers they could simply limit ticket numbers, or increase prices, neither of which requires the heavy hand of legislation.

Nick
Scalping is just another form of making extra dosh if u are prepared to work for it? Hey I say good on the person who is prepared to queue up for days to buy tickets then flog them off to idiots who are prepared to pay through the nose for it! That is why I prefer to buy the albums and stay home. I suggest that legislation will not stop scalping.

Matthew
I believe scalping is wrong, I don't this it's necessary to make it illegal but there are plenty of ways that have successfully stopped scalpers in their tracks. This year for Glastonbury, people have had to register their details including uploading a photo on a site a month before the tickets went on sale. Only those pre-registered could buy a ticket once on sale. The tickets when printed have the persons details and photo on it. Thus scalpers cannot sell them on. It's worked very successfully this year, and would be suitable for things like Big day out. As for smaller gigs, I'm not sure there is much you can do about it, people should have the legitimate right to sell their tickets if they can no longer go to the concert, but I will say, It is extremely annoying to find out a concert is sold out already, and then you see 100's of tickets on sale on trade me etc.
New Zealanders are already getting completely ripped off by Aussie & NZ tour promoters who are making huge profits from bringing bands over because there is so little competition. I can't believe the prices I see for concerts compared with what I pay in Europe. I know it's further away, but these bands are touring all over the place, and flights aren't that expensive!

Terry
No, I dont think that scalping should be banned. If people want to queue for tickets, or sit at the internet for hours in order to make a few bucks then good on them. The greedy will only lose out as if they over inflate their prices then noone will buy them. Remember a ticket to see an event is only worth as much as you are willing to pay for it. I do however believe that ticket sales shold be restricted to 2 or 4 per person. What I believe should be banned however is corporate sales. Trying to find tickets for Rugby matches etc without having to buy a tour package or hotel room is about as easy as finding rocking horse sh*t. Travel companies etc should be restricted to buying a certain number of tickets as I have proposed that the general public are. Also for major events like the Rugby world cup, New Zealanders should have an allocation per household to take up should they wish. For the last Lions tour my only (and cheapest)option to get tickets was to go to a British travel agent and buy a ticket/tour and hotel package!

Paul
Yes, supply and demand rules in this context. It is an undeniable result of living in a society such as ours. What bugs me though is the number of people who line up and buy the maximum number of tickets in order to onsell to the unlucky (those standing in queue for hours and still missing out). While they are quoting supply and demand in their arguments, they are also restricting supply by buying those tickets in the first place. That affects the price immediately, as the consumer has no other option but to pay inflated prices. What we end up with is a falsely inflated price as a result of market manipulation... don't care how you spin it scalpers.

Adam
I was once given 12 tickets to a Cliff Richard concert by someone in the business. I was then arrested in Hyde Park selling them to really nasty elderly ladies who beat me down on the price. Not a rock-n-roll story to bang on about but having been on both sides of the issue I have to say that second tier selling of tickets to events is cool if you can make lots of money but its uncool if you can't and then get arrested.

Ben
Scalpers /Trade Me sellers etc may mean I pay more for the ticket, but it also means I don't need to go out of my way or waste my time (ever heard of time = money) or at worst have to take time off work to go line up for a ticket meaning lost earnings and worse off in the long run. My time is actually worth something to me and I would happily pay the inflated price on Trade Me so I that I am not wasting my time lining up or refreshing some internet site. I guess if your time has little value you might be annoyed at scalpers.

Anna
Scalping is so wrong - it has to be made illegal with serious consequences. Reduce number of tickets to only 2 per transaction - means there is more transactions taking place and will give people more time to purchase a ticket. Rather than those people who; for concerts like U2, brought 10 and once and then had them for sale on Trade Me within 1 hour of tickets going on sale.

SH
Do the same people who despise scalpers also detest ordinary people who might buy a house, not add any physical value to it, and sell it for a profit? Should they only be allowed to sell it for what they paid? Seems like the same law of excess demand to me.But Im sure the many bitter people would say that's different..

Trilby
Streaking is either a minor offence against public decency or no crime at all, depending on public morals at the time. It may cause a major disruption to an event, but that is a matter for the organisers and their security provisions, not the law. Similarly, "scalping" is no crime before the law, either, no matter how much it may affect the promoters of an event. There will always be a demand for last minute tickets to a sold-out event, and private traders should be allowed to fulfill this demand. Any time there's a opportunity for scalpers to do more than fulfill this "desperation" market, that is simply an indication that the promoters have set the ticket prices below their real value, and it's just normal entrepreneurialism for people to take advantage of this. Scalpers take a business risk and can just as easily lose money as make it, if the promoters have gauged the demand accurately. I don't think we should be passing laws to protect businessmen's profits from their own bad business decisions. So, for events open to the public, the right to attend should be tradable.

Niels
What ! Ban scalping !Isn't that what this Government is doing with our petrol and diesel pricing? Next you will be saying we can't smack our kids ! Soon you will want to ban fireworks and fun in general. Why should the Labour Government be the only ones allowed to rip off the poor public? I say "Ban Labour Party."

Graham
There's never going to be a way of distributing tickets to these type of events without someone feeling unfairly disadvantaged. Proponents of ticket auctions rather than face price sales would allow the market to set the price, but the price set would undoubtedly be higher than current ticket prices, and the legions of self appointed true fans would be complaining that they now can never afford to attend their favourite band's concert. Selling tickets at outlets is unfair to people who can't spend up to 24hrs or more queueing to get them. Selling tickets via the internet is unfair to those without internet connections, and so on. With bands like U2 and the Chilli's, there are always going to be 'true fans' who miss out, even if scalping is somehow prevented or outlawed, because there are far more fans of these bands in NZ than there are tickets available. Whilst I can sympathise with fans who miss out on tickets, and feel that scalpers buying tickets to onsell are to blame, I find it hard to believe that the numbers of tickets scalped is more than a few hundred for any one event, out of tens of thousands of tickets sold.
More to the point though, is that if promoters want to eradicate scalping, then I feel it is up to them to put systems in place to achieve this, rather than expect the government to pass laws for them. If they really had the music fans' best interests as their primary goal, they would provide a process for people who to get refunds on tickets (after all, airlines do it if you buy the right type of ticket), and they would invest in the necessary infrastructure to support the huge volumes of phone calls, website hits, eftpos transactions etc that attend the sale of tickets for any major band that comes to NZ.

Tanya White
Scalping has to go! After missing out on the recent sell out Chilli Peppers concert by refusing to pay the average $200-$300 (per ticket) selling price for last minute sales on TradeMe i would like to see restrictions in place to prevent scalping. The price of the tickets were not the problem; it's knowing the scalper is making more than the band, something I'm not willing to support.

Simon
Scalping should be banned. They should always have door sales. If the event sells out then its you're own responsibility to make sure you get a ticket early.

Paul H
Scalping is a very lazy form of greed. Not a trait that I like to see in fellow New Zealanders.

S
Of course it is wrong. Its akin to illegal downloads of music wtc. Why should someone be able to sell a ticket to a concert for five or more times what it is worth so they themselves can make a profit, when they have no affiliation whatsoever with the band/act in question?

Alan Wilkinson
Sebastian's analogy is garbage because scalpers don't hold up a ticket shipment at gunpoint. They just get in the queue like everyone else.

Lee
The reason scalping happens is because vendors sell below the price the market will bear. One might wonder why they will do that. Well, the typical reason is that promoters would rather guarantee a full venue than risk having unsold seats. This increases the value of their product, since everyone knows that it's more fun to attend an event with a full house (and in the case of a sports team is in their long term interest). So the vendors give everyone a discount to increase demand. But scalpers do their best to wreck this, and they are basically doing nothing other than stealing from the vendor and making it more likely that there won't be a full house (thus reducing the value of tickets bought by honest consumers). Therefore, they should be treated like other criminals.

Fair Play
I agree, it is supply and demand and people who want tickets should be prepared to go and get them when they go on sale! Everything we buy means a profit for somebody else, it is the way of the world. So rather than get upset because someone is making money, lets ask for regulations that ensures anyone who buys tickets specifically to onsell, pay percentage tax based on the profit made. Then the Government can use the money to for new and better stadiums or something relevant. Who knows, that will create a decrease in scalping activities.

Seth
Big Day Out organisers need to get their own act together! People that scalp tickets are taking advantage of the fact that there are people out there that are willing to pay extra to get a ticket if they missed their chance. That's neither a good or bad thing - It works for the scalpers and it works for the ticket buyers. It's a simple fact that popular events will attract a lot of people and book an extra performance. If promoters can't predict the turnout, book another performance and double their money, then they need to do more than think of ways to penalise the people sharp enough to buy some tickets in advance to make a bit of cash (which is a small percentage of ticket sales). Big Day Out could even be a 2 day event. Some people will go to one day and other people will go to both. Is there no limit on the number of tickets per purchase? That would seem like an easy solution to mass ripoffs. Of course it's not all simple, but it'd be nice to see some common sense being practised. If I miss my chance for a ticket and really want to see a gig I get one from a scalper. Don't take away the option.

Richard
I can't help but wonder how many of the comments supporting scalpers come from people doing this.To claim the actual value of the ticket is what people are prepared to pay scalpers for is simply wrong. Many fans, desperate to see those bands that they love, but unable to because scalpers go and grab as many tickets as they can, feel like they are held hostage to pay the outrages price these criminals are charging.It should be made illegal, and these criminals should finally be branded for what they are.

Sebastian
Jason, I fully stand by my comment. Sure, this is not a life or death situation - its only a concert - but the principles (or lack thereof) behind scalping are exactly the same. It is a fact that food shipments to impoverished countries are often intercepted en-route by unscrupulous buyers and sold on to people at a raised cost that puts money in the pocket of the middle man. Sure, none of us would be that cruel. But I say that scalping is to a lesser extent a form of the same action and therefore the supply/demand argument scalpers use does not apply.

Colin England
All the organisers need to do to prevent scalping (such an emotive word) is to put the tickets up for auction instead of selling them outright. Have the auction finish a day before the event. That way people will pay the market value of the tickets and the scalpers won't make more money than the organisers. In fact they probably won't make any money at all. Making scalping illegal though won't actually stop it.

Dolly
Ultimately the promoters will realise that they can sell tickets at three or four times the cost they are currently offering, as there seem to be plenty of people about who will pay ridiculous prices. Attending concerts will then become even more out of reach for fans. Perhaps the onselling of tickets should only be permitted within five days of the actual event, or promoters should offer a resale facility for people who genuinely cannot attend an event.

Richard Z
It's called Supply and Demand guys - ever heard of it? Just because it's a band the rules don't change, although it would be nice if they did. Perhaps we should also regulate how much we pay for other things such as, oh, food and drink, since every time you buy one of those people are making money. But that's different isn't it? Or is it?

Jason
Hmmm - Sebastian, your comment "It is like going to Ethiopia, buying up all the food, and then selling it back to only those starving people who can afford it at double the price" Actually, it is nothing like that at all and your comment is rather ignorant. Scalping is one of those evils that exists - always has, always will. Spending time on new laws trying to prevent it is a waste of time and money. Lets get a grip and focus on the real issues in society!

Toni
I feel sorry for the night shift worker who is unable to line up for concert tickets only to miss out and have to fork out double or even triple to buy a ticket from a scalper. Or the mother who can't leave her children to go line up and also misses out and has to look at paying scalper prices. I don't think it's fair and as much as scalpers try to justify their actions I still think it is at the expense of others.

Alan Wilkinson
There is nothing wrong with "scalping" - it is exactly the same as any other kind of investment and selling. What is wrong is very poor sales methods by event promoters and banning scalping will just perpetuate them. Tickets should be made accessible to everyone, not just those who can get to a ticket office at the front of a queue. Selling a large number of tickets via internet "dutch auction" methods would establish the true value of the tickets at the same time as making sure everyone who wants to pay that amount can buy them.If you don't want to pay that price you will have no cause for complaint. You had your chance.

Kc
Scalping should be allowed its a free market.Scalpers are only able to sell/scalp tickets with a huge mark up because someone is stupid enough to buy them for inflated prices.Its a case of demand dictating the price. If you want to go to the Big Day Out or any other big concert then get off your lazy asses and ensure you get the tickets on the day they go on sale otherwise you will have to pay more, simple really. If scalpers are prepared to cue over night for tickets them good on them if they on sell for a profit.

Dean E
Scalping is an insidious activity, especially now e-commerce has made it all so easy. Do we really need another law though? BDO and other concert promoters should step up and do something about themselves. The major festivals in the UK have.

Sebastian
I detest scalping in the strongest possible way, and anyone who perpetrates it. I was at the Chilli Peppers on Saturday and was lucky enough to buy tickets legitimately online in the Visa pre-sale, however some friends who I was hoping to go with missed out. Tickets appeared for sale almost immediately on Trade me for double, sometimes even triple the cost! Fair enough if you have tickets you cant use you want to sell, but not for a profit! Scalpers deny legitimate punters the right to buy tickets at fair sale price, and make a huge profit by exploiting ordinary Kiwis who would give anything to see a band such as the Chillis or U2 play down here. It is like going to Ethiopia, buying up all the food, and then selling it back to only those starving people who can afford it at double the price. Most of us cant afford to pay these inflated prices and miss out like my mates did. It should be made illegal and these wretches prosecuted.

Matt F
It is interesting to see that promoters of large events are concerned about the effects of scalping to the degree they support a law banning the practice. After all, the promoters still receive the face value of each ticket, regardless of whether the purchaser then goes on to sell it for a higher price. In addition, generally in New Zealand it is promoters own ticket sale policies that promulgate scalping in the first place, by allowing people to buy large numbers of tickets in one transaction and offering tickets to major credit card holders prior to the tickets being available to the wider public. While a law change might stem some of the scalping that occurs around major events lie the Big Day Out, enforcing that law would be extremely difficult and costly compared with the relatively easy steps promoters themselves could take to inhibit the practice. If I stand in a queue overnight to buy four tickets to a concert for my friends and I, I would less inclined to flog them off on Trade Me for twice as much as I bought them for than I would be if I get an email from Visa asking me if I want to buy ten.

Jas
I believe it is wrong. Scalping makes it unfair on those genuine fans who wish to go to concerts but cant do so because someone buys 10 of them and selling them for 6 times the price. People will argue about supply and demand but with concert tickets there is limited supply and its not like you can come back in 2 months time and try and find a ticket cheaper. Once those tickets are sold that is that.I believe Trade me should make a rule that if people are selling tickets they have to wait at least 1 month after tickets have gone on sale before they can put them on Trade me and they have to put them at the face value and put a buy now. I can understand people on-selling tickets because they cannot make the concert/event but to simply sell them at 6 times the price in my opinion is being greedy.Also do these scalpers pass on their profits to the organiser the ticket outlet, the crew, the managers,the people in the band/event? Someehow I dont think so.

Mat
The scalpers fill a gap caused by the promoters selling tickets at below market value. I view them as providing a valuable service.

Adi
I agree with the need to protect rock shows from scalpers. BDO, Chili Peppers, the list goes on. Scalpers are parasites. As for Lisa Lewis, streaker? Yeah right... Streaking is only streaking when performed naked. She's about as much of a streaker as a track athlete.

Laura
I hate scalpers! They end up causing huge fans to miss out on seeing their favourite band, as I definitely don't have $600 to spend on a $100 concert which sold out in 20 minutes due to greedy people buying large lots of tickets to exploit the true fans into paying sometimes as much as 6 times the ticket price. They make me mad. I don't know how many concerts I have missed out on going to due to scalpers.

Julie
I dont believe theres anything wrong with ticket scalping. If they have the means, so what why aren't people complaining that nowadays tickets go on sale 4 months before the bands play sometimes longer. Who gets the interest payout on that I wonder? I just see it as someones business there isnt any business around that dont make 60 per cent profit. Having said that I buy my tickets when they come on sale and not from a scalper so someones keeping them going. Bigday promoters are greedy anyway.

Brian
The article states - "This year tickets were sold online for up to six times their $110 value." This is a misleading statement...tickets were sold for their actual value, which happened to be six times more than their original price. The tickets are worth whatever people decide to pay for them in order to attend the event, the relationship between this price and the dollar amount printed on the tickets is somewhat arbitrary. Writing the article in this way is inherently biased against the market economics that govern the trade of nearly every other legal good. Does promoter Campbell Smith intend to sell his house one day for exactly what he paid for it, even if the market value has doubled, to avoid the heinous scrime of scalping?

Kerry
I personally hate scalpers! They ruin a good time for a lot of people.Can you imagine waiting months and months in excitement and anticipation to see your favorite band play, only to find out when you go to buy your ticket that its sold out and the only way you can get a ticket is online where its being sold 5 times its original price by someone who either doesn't like the band or doesn't even know them! How can they sleep when they know they are the only thing stopping fans from seeing their idols play? New Zealand hardly gets any good bands playing here compared to Australia. So when they do decided to jump over for a concert the last thing the NZ music public wants is to be denied from seeing them just because some selfish git is trying to earn money from something that isn't his! This is something that makes me very angry.

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