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MCD told not to advertise tickets 'from' a certain price unless it can show there are a reasonable number available

A complaint had been made about a 3Arena event with a ticket price listed as “from €51 incl booking fee”.

Image: Shutterstock/maxbelchenko

GIG PROMOTERS MCD have been told by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) not to promote tickets “from” a certain price unless it has evidence to show a reasonable number of tickets available at that price.

It follows a complaint made by a member of the public to the advertising watchdog, after she had seen an advertisement for an event at the 3Arena stating “tickets from €51 incl. booking fee”. 

The complainant said she found the pricing to be misleading because she tried to book the ticket at the lowest price point indicated but could only get a ticket for the event at a price higher than was advertised.

In response, MCD said prices for events at that location would always range and the price of a ticket would reflect the “standard of where it was positioned within the arena”. 

The tickets advertised at €51 would be of a “much lower standard in comparison to higher-end priced tickets”. 

It said there were a limited amount of tickets at the cost of €51 and that these were purchased swiftly. 

“The advertisers assured the ASAI Executive that this was not a conscious effort to mislead the public into purchasing tickets, as it was the belief at the time when this advertisement was going to print that such tickets – which were available to purchase initially – were on sale to the public,” the ASAI said.

When the ASAI asked MCD to confirm how many tickets were available at the advertised “from” price and by what time they were released, it said “no further information was provided by the advertisers”. 

In upholding the complaint, the ASAI noted that it wasn’t “misleading per se to advertise ticket availability on a ‘from’ basis”.

However, it said when there is a limited availability on tickets, advertisers should be able to demonstrate that there was a reasonable supply or proportion of each of the products available.

In lieu of this, the ASAI said that the advertising was in breach of Section 4.28(b) of the relevant ASAI code.

The ASAI said that as the event has already taken place, there is no action it can take in this instance. 

“The committee told the advertisers, however, that in future advertisements, a ‘from’ price for tickets should not be quoted unless there was evidence that there was a reasonable supply of the tickets at the lowest price point,” it said.

In a separate complaint to the ASAI about MCD,  a man complained that an advertisement stating a ticket cost “€49.90 incl. booking fee” suggested that the booking fee was included in this €49.90 price.

When he went to book the ticket, he was charged an additional fee by the booking agent.

MCD said that this additional charge came from Ticketmaster, which applies a service charge on top of a ticket price. It said this information was clearly outlined on the website. 

This complaint was also upheld, and the ASAI said that it should be ensured that adverts contain “clear information about the amounts of additional charges such as those arising from the method of purchase or payment”. 

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for MCD said: “MCD Productions are fully compliant with all legislative requirements regarding the editorial and marketing of all events.”

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Sean Murray

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