Ticket-scalpers targeted by government in effort to quell fans' anger over legalised price-hiking

Ticket-scalpers are being targeted as the Government looks at ways to quell fans' anger over the legalised price-hiking of their favourite gigs.

Concert-goers keen to get their hands on tickets to big-name acts such as Bruno Mars, Pink and Celine Dion have found themselves outbid and outraged by seemingly legitimate websites selling tickets with a huge mark up – sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars per seat. 

The biggest culprit – Viagogo – has been subject to dozens of complaints to the Commerce Commission, which is currently investigating the Swiss-based reseller.

And now the Consumer Affairs minister Kris Faafoi has asked his staff to start researching the issue as well.

"We want to make sure that people get a fair go if they’re buying a ticket… when you turn up to the door, you should be able to get in" he said.

The minister has already met with Brent Eccles, head of New Zealand’s biggest promotor Frontier Touring and says work is underway on a solution.

"You know, I'd like to snap my fingers today and do something about it straight away," he said.

"But I think making sure we understand the vagaries of the system is really important if we’re going to design a solution to the problem."

Ticketmaster – owned by the world’s largest promoter, Live Nation – says it hasn’t been asked to meet with the minister yet but would do so if asked.

The company owns a 'primary' selling site – one that sells tickets first-hand, and a secondary site called Ticketmaster Resale.

Like Viagogo, Ticketmaster Resale has also been subject to criticism from customers, who missed out on Celine Dion tickets but found them for sale on the secondary site at enormous mark ups.

The company says the need for ticket reselling sites “is not going to go away”.

In a statement it added that it supports "all efforts made by Government to ensure that consumers are protected when buying and reselling tickets on any platform".

Viagogo was approached for comment and directed Fair Go to its 'Frequently Asked Questions' page on its website.

Consumer Affairs minister Kris Faafoi wants to combat seemingly legitimate websites selling tickets with a huge mark up. Source: Fair Go