British Ticket Scalpers Make $9 Million in Profits, Get Convicted for Fraud

British ticket scalpers
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British ticket scalpers
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Photo Credit: Unsplash

The world of ticket scalping is a murky one, with many dishonest individuals using various tactics to purchase and sell tickets at inflated prices. Recently, two British ticket scalpers, Peter Hunter and David Smith, were convicted on fraud charges after using multiple identities and bots to purchase over £4 million ($5.2 million) worth of tickets to numerous gigs, including events by Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, and Taylor Swift.

The duo then sold these tickets on secondary ticketing sites for a whopping £10.8 million ($14.1 million), according to court documents. The two were convicted of fraudulent trading and possessing an article for fraud, and were labeled “dishonest fraudsters” by prosecutors, who cited greed as their only motivation.

The two British ticket scalpers were exposed after The Guardian delved deeply into the secondary ticketing market. Two sites the duo used to move tickets – GetMeIn and Seatwave – have since shut down. StubHub and Viagogo are still live, despite multiple complaints from consumers and lawsuits. A merger between the two now faces regulatory scrutiny, too.

Ticket scalpers are known to use multiple identities, software, and credit cards to purchase tickets, using bots to snap up as many premium seats as possible. This makes it harder for genuine fans to get hold of tickets, as they are often sold out within minutes of going on sale.

In the case of Hunter and Smith, they used 100 different names and 88 separate postal addresses to avoid detection. They also engaged in speculative selling or listing tickets for sale they do not own. This shady business practice is not unique to these two individuals, as many other suppliers to secondary ticketing sites may also acquire tickets by unlawful means, according to Adam Webb, campaign manager of FanFair Alliance.

Webb went on to say that the verdict in this case shines further light on the dependency of websites such as Viagogo and StubHub upon large-scale commercial ticket resellers. The lack of oversight and regulation in the secondary ticketing market has allowed these fraudulent practices to thrive, leaving many consumers feeling cheated and frustrated.

Ticketmaster also faced heavy criticism after it was revealed that representatives were facilitating scalping on their own platforms. A secretly-filmed video by the Toronto Star revealed how Ticketmaster works with scalpers, allowing ticket resales at higher prices on an official platform to double-dip.

It is clear that the issue of ticket scalping is a complex one, with many different players involved. While some argue that the secondary ticketing market provides a legitimate service for fans who are unable to attend events, the reality is that fraudulent practices are rife in this industry, leaving many consumers feeling ripped off and cheated.

As more and more cases of ticket scalping come to light, it is clear that greater regulation and oversight of the secondary ticketing market is needed. Only then can we hope to stamp out these fraudulent practices and ensure that genuine fans are given a fair chance to purchase tickets at a reasonable price.

One Response

  1. Samuel L. Restovian

    With all those fees, Ticketmaster should be brought up on fraud charges. I have to now pay to get the privilege of using my printer and ink at home? Jeez!