eBay logoAP Photo/Paul Sakuma

eBay is about to stop UK traders from re-selling unwanted concert or sports tickets. The Financial Times has reported that instead they will be redirected to eBay's ticket resale site - StubHub.

But why is is doing this, and what does this mean for consumers?


The report said that eBay is working to re-invigorate the UK arm of its ticket business. The first step is an advertising campaign this week. The second will be to stop the sale of tickets on eBay in the spring.

The newspaper said that at the moment in the UK there are around £5,000 tickets on eBay at any one time. StubHub, meanwhile, sells only a few thousand a month.

The problem

StubHub is massive in the US, but has failed to take off in the UK, where it is dwarfed by competitors.

The whole industry faces a reputation problem, as there are those who argue it's another sales tool for touts. StubHub certainly has its share of sellers who sell tickets to sold-out events at a huge mark-up. This weekend, for example, there's a chance to pay twice the face value to see the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever, or three times the face value for Ronan Keating's tour at the LG Arena in Birmingham.

A Dispatches investigation last year didn't improve the reputation of the industry much when it went undercover at some of the sites and discovered that touts selling tickets on for profit greatly outnumbered the fans selling on unwanted tickets for gigs and events they could no longer attend.

However, fans of the sites argue that by making more unwanted tickets for sale, it is pushing down the re-sale price, so the touts are making less money, and more fans are getting to see the show.

They add that having guarantees associated with these sites means there will be fewer falling victim to fraudsters, conning them with counterfeit tickets.

What it means for you

Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, you are better off going to a dedicated specialist to buy and sell your tickets, because the protections are specifically set up to cover this form of sale, so this is a positive step.

It's unlikely to affect the number of tickets that are for sale, as eBay will simply push those selling tickets on onto other sites, so there's no down-side here either.

However, there's a serious problem - the cost. For real fans trying to re-sell their tickets the costs will escalate. On eBay you could pay an insertion fee of up to £1.30 depending on your starting price, plus 10% of the total amount it sells for. On StubHub you will pay 25% of the sale price.

Buyers also face higher costs on ticket sites, as while sellers pay 10% on Seatwave and Viagogo, buyers also have to pay a fee, plus a fixed price for shipping, which sees the overall cost increase considerably.

But what do you think? Would you use these sites? Are the fees fair? Let us know in the comments.