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Consumer advocates have called for national legislation to combat ticket scalping following the surge of resold tickets for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Australia tour.  

Within hours of presales opening, tickets were being resold at a significantly higher price, some as high as $5,890. 

The initial batch of tickets for Swift’s Eras tour in February next year became available through American Express and authorised seller Ticketek on 26 June 2023. These tickets included two VIP packages for the Melbourne and Sydney shows, comprising admission and exclusive merchandise, priced at $899.90 and $1,249.90 respectively.  

Despite encountering technical issues, the VIP packages quickly sold out. Reseller websites such as Viagogo promptly listed tickets at a marked-up price. 

A quick search by LSJ revealed Viagogo is selling Sydney concert tickets for as much as $3,763, while prices for the Melbourne shows range between $1,854 and $5,890.  

These figures represent a 371% increase compared to the maximum original price of the most expensive package. Comparatively, the price range for regular tickets is between $79.90 and $379.90. 

A spokesperson for Viagogo told The Guardian that ticket prices were set by the sellers themselves 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 were actively monitoring the website to ensure tickets were not in breach of local laws. 

“We are actively reviewing listings and will take action as necessary,” they said. 

This is not the first time Viagogo has been in hot water, or as Taylor Swift calls it “Did Something Bad”.  

In 2020, Viagogo was issued a $7 million fine for misleading consumers in a case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Siri, play “I Knew You Were Trouble When You Walked In”. 

Jarni Blakkarly, journalist and spokesperson for consumer advocacy organisation Choice, expressed concern over resold Taylor Swift tickets. He noted that some Sydney tickets were being sold in violation of NSW’s anti-scalping laws, which restricts ticket resales to a maximum of 110 per cent of the original price.  

“I know all too well that buying tickets from scalpers can be tempting but you need to calm down,” Blakkarly joked on Twitter, referencing the singer’s famous lyrics. 

I know all too well that buying tickets from scalpers can be tempting but you need to calm down.

Jarni Blakkarly, Journalist

In an article for Choice, Blakkarly explained that ticket scalping legislation differs in each state and territory which creates problems. 

“In Victoria, weaker ticket-scalping legislation means scalpers may be able to sell tickets at hugely inflated prices without breaching the law,” said Blakkarly.  

Blakkarly interviewed Patrick Veyret, Head of Policy and Government Relations at Choice, who called the conduct “disappointing and shocking”.  

“This appears to be a flagrant disregard of ticket scalping laws in New South Wales. The conduct should firmly be in the crosshairs of consumer protection regulators,” said Veyret.  

Veyret called for clear and consistent federal ticket scalping rules, noting that Victoria falls behind other states and territories. 

“We currently have a piecemeal approach to ticket scalping regulations across different states and territories. People deserve the same consumer protections across the country,” he said. 

Veyret argued that digital platforms such as Google have a responsibility in not promoting websites that resell tickets illegally. 

“Digital platforms need to be more proactive in protecting people from the harms of potentially unlawful scalping,” he said. 

Recognising the magnitude of the problem, Brazil recently introduced legislation to Parliament, proposing prison sentences of up to four years and fines up to 100 times the ticket price for scalpers. 

The next release of official Taylor Swift concert tickets is scheduled for 28 June 2023 and will be limited to Frontier Touring members. General ticket sales will commence on 30 June 2023.  

The tour includes performances at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 16 and 17 February 2024, as well as Sydney’s Accor Stadium on 23, 24 and 25 February. No other Australian cities have been announced. 

Main image: Taylor Swift Twitter