Consumer advocates are calling for unified national laws against scalping after tickets to see Taylor Swift perform live in Australia were being resold at vastly inflated prices within just hours of presales opening.
The first limited tranche of tickets for the US singer’s much-anticipated Australian concert series in February next year, as part of her Eras tour, went on presale through American Express and official seller Ticketek on Monday.
On offer were two VIP packages for shows in Melbourne and Sydney, which included a ticket and a swag of merchandise, selling for $899.90 or $1,249.90. The packages quickly sold out, despite some technical hitches, but tickets began popping up on reseller websites such as Viagogo almost immediately, in some cases with huge mark-ups.
Taylor Swift’s Eras tour in Australia: what you need to know about tickets to the Sydney and Melbourne shows
Guardian Australia’s searches found tickets for the Sydney concerts listed for at least $1,779 on Viagogo, and a ticket for the Melbourne shows listed as having just sold for $3,114 – about 140% and 249% of the original maximum price for the most expensive ticket package respectively.
It’s a far cry from the $79.90 to $379.90 price range for a regular ticket.
Jarni Blakkarly, spokesperson for the consumer advocacy organisation Choice, said he had seen some tickets for the Sydney shows for more than $2,600 each, and across multiple reselling sites, making them “clearly in breach” of New South Wales anti-scalping laws that restrict ticket resales to a maximum of 110% of the value of the original ticket price.
A spokesperson for Viagogo said ticket prices on the platform were set by sellers and “ultimately fans decide the ticket price that meets their budget. It’s important to note that prices can change and are not necessarily an indication of what a fan will spend”.
The spokesperson said Viagogo was “monitoring the on-sale for Taylor Swift and the inventory on our site from sellers closely to ensure fulfilment and that these tickets are abiding by local laws, in line with our guarantee. We are actively reviewing listings and will take action as necessary.”
NSW Fair Trading has been approached for comment.
In 2020, Viagogo was fined $7m by the federal court for misleading consumers by making false and misleading representations when reselling tickets to live music and sports events.
“We haven’t seen them actually stop ticket scalping on the big scale, really. It seems like big companies can just continue to do it. There are reasonably big fines in place but that doesn’t seemed to have curbed the practice … otherwise they would be putting limits on their sites to stop these tickets actually being sold,” Blakkarly said.
The laws also differ across states. In Victoria, for example, the rule against inflating the resale price beyond 110% only applies when the event in question is designated a “major event” by the state government – which hasn’t happened for the Taylor Swift tour.
A spokesperson for the Victorian government said: “We are working with the promoter to protect fans from unscrupulous ticket resellers. We will have more to say on this soon.”
Choice is advocating for “nationally consistent legislation,” Blakkarly said. “There should be uniform laws across the country so people have the same protections, whether you’re attending in Melbourne or Sydney.” 바카라사이트
Buying a resale ticket was risky because “we’ve heard numerous stories of people paying money for tickets but never receiving them, or receiving fake tickets and getting turned away at the venue”, Blakkarly said.
Aggressive scalping of tickets to Swift’s concerts has already prompted new laws to be introduced into Brazil’s parliament, which would see scalpers face up to four years in prison and fines of up to 100 times the price of the touted tickets.
The next official wave of Swift concert tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, limited to Frontier Touring members. General ticket sales are scheduled to open on Friday.
Swift will perform at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 16 and 17 February 2024, and at Sydney’s Accor Stadium 23, 24 and 25 February. She has not announced further dates in any other Australian cities.