Online retailer eBay has agreed not to profiteer from the resale of tickets for the capital’s New Year’s Eve fireworks following a request from Boris Johnson’s office.
The traditional display was made ticket-only last year following concerns from transport and policing chiefs about public safety both during the event and as crowds dispersed.
100,000 £10 tickets were sold by City Hall, some of which were snapped up by ‘scalpers’ who immediately listed them on resale sites such as eBay’s StubHub for inflated asking prices. In one case tickets were being sold for 17 times the original cover price.
The firms behind such sites take a percentage from each sale meaning that they directly profit from the high prices charged by resellers.
On Thursday Will Walden, the Mayor’s Director of Communications and External Affairs, told London Assembly members that eBay has agreed not to allow the listing of tickets this year either on its main auction site or on StubHub.
Walden said the agreement represented “a considerable dent” in the market for resold tickets for the event.
Discussions are also underway with other major reseller sites who’ve been advised that users buying secondhand tickets risk disappointment on the night as the conditions of sale allow for the cancellation of any ticket presented by someone other than the original buyer.
During the meeting Labour AM Val Shawcross welcomed eBay’s undertakings and said there was a strong case for others to follow their example “on security grounds” given the event’s “iconic” nature and high profile.
Ticketholders who no longer want their tickets can return them to City Hall’s official ticket agency See Tickets for a full refund before 3rd December. Any returned tickets will then go back on sale.
Update 20th November: City Hall officials say that Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and GET ME IN! sites have now also agreed not to list tickets for the event, furthering limiting the potential for touts and scalpers to cash-in on the taxpayer funded event.