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MP hits out over Adele ticket rip-off.

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com

TICKET touts are in danger of ruining singer Adele's comeback tour for thousands of fans, an MP has warned.

And the number of tickets on sale for inflated prices shows the need for tough new laws to crack down on rip-off ticket sales, said MP Sharon Hodgson.

She spoke out after fans warned they were struggling to buy tickets for the singer's tour, the first for four years, which follows the release of her new album, called 25.

Adele's managers have taken the unusual step of trying to prevent touts buying up tickets for the 36-date tour.

Her manager, Jonathan Dickins, told music trade publication Music Business Worldwide that they excluded more than 18,000 "known or likely touts" from the ticket buying process.

But despite this, tickets are on sale at inflated prices for concerts which don't take place until March next year.

We found tickets for a London venue selling for PS1,221 each - plus a processing fee of PS223.68 - more than 10 times the original face value of PS108.25.

Tickets for a Birmingham concert were selling at PS1,210, plus a processing fee of PS223.48, when they were originally sold for PS105.00.

They are sold via websites on the socalled secondary market.

In theory, the secondary market allows people who bought a ticket in advance and then cannot attend an event to sell them on to somebody who can use them.

But in practice some secondary market websites are simply used by touts who used sophisticated computer software to buy up tickets as soon as they go on sale, preventing ordinary fans from purchasing them at the official price, and then sell them on at a huge profit.

One fan contacted Mrs Hodgson on Twitter with an image of a website apparently selling tickets originally worth PS95 for PS11,000.

The MP, who represents Washington and Sunderland West, has led calls in the House of Commons for laws to put an end to the practice, and introduced her own legislation in January.

She said: "Yet again, when another high-profile event is announced, ticket touts are able to harvest thousands of tickets in a matter of seconds and sell them on again at ridiculous prices.

"For many fans of Adele the actions of these touts are stopping them from seeing their favourite artist, but this is happening every single day all across the country, from concerts and sporting events, to theatre shows and exhibitions.

"It is utterly wrong that genuine fans are being ripped off or stopped from being able to buy tickets at face value, just because of the sophisticated software of the touts and the complicity of some of the secondary ticketing platforms.

"I have led a campaign in Parliament to put fans' rights first, and to clamp down on this unjustifiable behaviour, and although we were successful this year in tightening the law, we need to go much further if we ever want to make this a fair marketplace."

She added: "There is a review into secondary ticketing currently underway, and I have been working to make sure it fully appreciates the scale of this problem, and if the ridiculous prices Adele tickets are being touted for are not evidence enough of a thoroughly broken system with no regard for fans, then nothing will be.

"I will continue to work on this issue in Parliament, as I do not believe it is ever right for fans, and artists, to lose out just to make some greedy tout heaps of money for adding no value whatsoever. They are basically nothing more than parasites."

The Government announced in February that it would increase regulation around the secondary ticket market, including forcing websites which sell tickets to publish information including the face value and the tickets' terms and conditions.

It also announced in October that it was launching a study into whether tougher measures were needed.

Prof Michael Waterson, professor of economics at the University of Warwick, is chairing a review of consumer protection in the online ticket resale market which is due to report its findings before May 26, 2016.

Some artists have expressed anger at ticket touts. In November, singer Prince entered the fray and posted a picture of a vulture on his Twitter feed with the caption: "A. Scavenger B. Vulture C. Tout D. All of the above."

It was followed by a tweet linking to a Which? report on the "ticket resale ripoff" in which the consumer group said it had monitored the four main websites and found evidence that the market was failing fans.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 12, 2015
Words:787
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