A poster ad for StubHub, seen on a train on 15 November 2019, featured the text “THAT KNEE SLIDE ALONG THE PLATFORM MOMENT”. Smaller text underneath stated “Guaranteed genuine tickets to the match can do that”. Below the text was a large image of a woman shouting in excitement with her arms spread out against a backdrop of the StubHub logo. Text at the bottom right-hand corner stated “That StubHub Feeling” followed by StubHub’s website address.
FanFair Alliance, a campaign group, who understood that as a third-party reseller, StubHub were unable to guarantee that the tickets they sold were genuine, challenged whether the claim “Guaranteed genuine tickets” was misleading
StubHub (UK) Ltd said that consumers would understand “genuine” to mean that tickets were not fake or fraudulent, but would not assume that they were definitely valid for entry. StubHub said that as a ticketing marketplace platform, they neither owned nor sold tickets listed on their website but that tickets were sold by the sellers who used their website. Sellers were only allowed to sell valid tickets and StubHub had systems in place, such as algorithms and automated systems, to detect fraud. They said that most sellers were not paid the proceeds of their sale until after the relevant event had passed, which reduced the incentive to sell fraudulent tickets.
StubHub said that their seller fraud rate was under 0.1% and all orders were backed by their ‘FanProtect Guarantee’. They were therefore confident that customers would receive genuine tickets backed by a guarantee. StubHub said that they had not received any complaints from the public and had removed the ad.
The ASA considered that, the claim “Guaranteed genuine tickets” would be understood by consumers to mean that should they purchase the advertised match tickets from the StubHub website, they would be certain to receive valid tickets that would arrive on time and allow them to gain entry into the relevant match. We understood that the claim was intended by StubHub to refer to a guarantee that buyers would receive valid tickets for the event or a comparable replacement ticket or refund.
We noted that StubHub’s ‘FanProtect Guarantee’ allowed customers to obtain a refund if they did not receive their tickets in time or if they were unable to gain entry to the venue. However, this information had not been presented in the ad.
Although StubHub appeared to offer a guarantee on customers receiving tickets, they were not able to guarantee that buyers would always be able to successfully gain entry to their chosen event. Because the claim “Guaranteed genuine tickets” suggested that consumers who bought StubHub tickets would be guaranteed to gain entry into their chosen match, when that was not the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading. We welcomed StubHub’s removal of the ad.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading Advertising)
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told StubHub (UK) Ltd not to use the claim “Guaranteed genuine tickets” where there was a risk that buyers might not be able to gain entry into an event.