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Ticketek Marketplace defends site as Aussies left ‘screaming’ in rage

It comes as official figures reveal Aussies have been duped out of more than $135,000 for fake Taylor Swift tickets.

Ticketing platforms are facing continued criticism over their monopoly on the live entertainment industry, with "ridiculous" wait times for accessing tickets repeatedly slammed by fed-up Aussies, leaving desperate Taylor Swift fans particularly frustrated as they scramble for a ticket.

This week, reports revealed Ticketek's official resale platform Marketplace — the only official channel to buy legally issued tickets according to the company itself and Swift's tour managers Frontier — had kept people waiting for hours just to log in.

But, it's not only "Swifities" being kept from the platform, with virtually anyone hoping to buy tickets to an existing event that they missed out in the first sale, also being locked out. For example, people hoping to score a spot to '90s punk-rock band Blink-182's Aussie shows have also been coupled in the same queue clogged by hoards of Swift fans.

Ticketek's Marketplace for Taylor Swift tickets featured in a screen grab from Google search.
People have complained about Ticketek's Marketplace platform, which has been criticised for "not working" as fans try to score Taylor Swift tickets. Source: Ticketek/ Google.

It's prompted people to turn to other avenues to buy tickets, such as social media, which has already seen many scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Swifties scammed out of more than $135,000

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Scamwatch, there have already been some 273 reports of people being scammed buying The Eras Tour tickets via social media, since tickets went on sale in Australia in June.

"Australians have lost over $135,000 to this scam so far, with this figure likely to continue to rise," ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.

"This scam is a low act, seeking to take advantage of fans, many of whom are young and are desperately trying to secure a ticket to make their dream of seeing Taylor Swift live come true."

Taylor Swift on her The Eras Tour.
Aussies have frenzied over tickets to Taylor Swift's upcoming The Eras Tour, with ticketing services struggling to meet demand. Source: Associated Press.

Expert warns 'annoying' trend to continue

Though "annoying", the sad fact remains ticketing platforms are unlikely to change how they operate for some time yet, consumer expert at Finder Angus Kidman explains.

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Kidman described the scale of the frenzy around Swift tickets as "unusual". "Relative to the size of the venues there are not actually that many shows for a country the size of Australia," he said.

"But this issue is going to come up again and again, because this pattern of selling through one ticket platform, and them being the only way that you can resell that, that is going to be the new normal.

Ticketek's Marketplace.
Some people had reported waiting in the Ticketek queue, only for the system to glitch at the last minute and be booted out. Source: Ticketek.

"It's been particularly enforced here [with Swift], but I do think that's going to become the pattern for any major event that is going to work like this. So moving forward, we'd see this happen if Beyoncé comes, we'd see this happen if the Madonna tour got extended globally— the problem is not going to go away.

"I do think we're going to see another two or three years of this pattern going on."

'Do not buy from unauthorised sellers' expert warns

Advising people not to buy from unauthorised sellers under any circumstances, Kidman says he does understand Aussies' frustration, and added he would like to see companies take steps to better manage their systems to "minimise the risk of bootleg tickets".

"But there's just not an incentive to scale up those services," he warned. "The way that it is when tickets go on sale, and we see this all the time with events, ticketing platforms will ramp up their services, they'll put on extra processing power when they anticipate a huge flight.

"But even then you still wait a long time — and we saw that with the original batch of [Swift] tickets — but you can plan for that period, you know, there's a day-and-a-half, a day, or 60 minutes where the tickets will be available, so you ramp things up and then, you ramp them down.

"There just isn't the same incentive if you're a ticket vendor to make the platform super stable for what's going to amount to individual, single, occasional ticket sales."

Ticketek says site is working 'as expected'

When questioned about the stability of their Marketplace, and specifically whether it's fair for Aussies to be grouped into the same queue for resale tickets, despite there potentially being significantly less demand for some acts, a Ticketek spokesperson said the platform was working "as expected".

“The Ticketek Marketplace site is working as expected. Fans are listing and buying tickets as inventory becomes available," the spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“On average, there are 50,0000 customers in the lounge at any point in time, mainly driven by demand to gain access to Taylor Swift tickets. As is the case with Ticketek’s main site, we are constantly monitoring performance, and flexing session availability as required to ensure that genuine fans are able to list and buy tickets.”

Online, furious music fans responded to what they described as "appalling" service, with people saying they wished the "process was more fair". Many had "given up hope" of securing tickets altogether.

"Ticketek are f****ing hopeless! Don't respond to emails and can't contact them by phone," another said.

"Screaming, THIS IS ABSURD!! So I’m pretty much at my wits' end with this whole ticket purchasing process," wrote a third. "I had no luck on Ticketek and same with Ticketek Marketplace and boy have I been putting in the hard yards as we all have!"

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