Why ticket sales on eBay should not be restricted

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With the news of eBay buying StubHub and Chris Tsakalakis moving across from eBay to assist in managing StubHub along with eBay’s ticket business there’s a lot of interest in “scalping” or as we call it in the UK Ticket Touts. I found an article today on the subject which is well worth a read, and the main argument is reproduced below.

The argument for unfettered scalping: You have something that I want (tickets), and I have something that you want (money). So we trade. Voluntary free exchange is evidence that the trade makes both parties better off, and the agent gets a commission for bringing them together. Everyone is better off than they would have been had the trade not occurred. The scalper has made a commission for providing a service, and no one is worse off. Stopping scalping clearly makes people less well off, and the state has no business getting involved.

I fail to see just what is wrong with selling tickets at a premium price to those that are willing to pay. What’s the difference between buying and selling a ticket in comparison to any other commodity? Should I be forced to sell my printers at a set price or be banned from trading in them in the first place? Should sellers be banned from selling the PS3 or Wii above the RRP if buyers are willing to buy them?

Just what makes tickets any different that sparks such controversial arguments both in favour and against resale at inflated values? One thing is for sure, there’s a market for unavailable tickets and for eBay and it’s sellers to miss out on this market would be ludicrous

3 Responses

  1. *applauds*
    Can’t argue with any of that. The thing people seem to say is that it “stops genuine fans” going to events. So I can to an extent understand the argument for restricting the supply to one individual: just as HP wouldn’t want you to be the sole supplier of their printers, I don’t think any one ticket tout should be able to buy up significant proportions of the tickets for one event – but why that then needs to translate into no one at all can buy a ticket or half a dozen tickets and sell them to someone else… that makes no sense at all.

  2. Totally agree.

    If there’s a big mark-up on touted tickets, it only proves that the organisers got the price wrong in the first place.

  3. Ticket sales *SHOULD* be restricted. The touts create a false demand, and the difference between tickets and, say, a new games console, the tickets are time and stock limited. I can wait for my new games console when they ship a new batch to my local shop.

    It would be better if eBay would pass the face value & postage/booking fee on to the seller, and donate anything paid over & above that to charity.

    That way, the buyer gets the ticket at face value, the seller gets their money back (which is fair if the seller bought the ticket(s) with the intention of attending in the first place), and the excess paid by the buyer goes to a good cause.


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