Author Topic: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail  (Read 1421 times)

Offline rebel23

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Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« on: February 14, 2020, 04:17:14 AM »
This is being hailed as 'landmark' case. They were selling concert tickets but this should have implications for football tickets.

Quote
Two supertouts who made at least £11 million by fleecing fans are facing jail tonight after a landmark ticketing trial branded them fraudsters.

The methods of Peter Hunter and partner David Smith are used by most top touts, who have milked hundreds of millions from real fans.

Until now, the crooks have been able to bleat that they are acting within the law.

The Daily Record’s Stub Out The Touts campaign has exposed many scalpers who use the same methods - and we now demand they are brought to book for their crimes.

Both Hunter and Smith were found guilty of fraudulent trading and the pulverising verdict from Leeds Crown Court means the common scams can now be regarded as fraud under the Companies Act.

Trading Standards organisations today faced calls for a major round of follow-up prosecutions, after Hunter and Smith were presented as “dishonest fraudsters motivated by greed”.

The court’s decision makes it clear that the most common shady methods could now land touts in hot water.

Many have already committed thousands of offences, earning them millions in recent years.

Efforts could be made under Proceeds of Crime laws to take back the assets built up through the ripping-off of fans.

Adam Webb, campaign manager for FanFair Alliance, said: “Today’s verdict shines further light on the murky world of secondary ticketing, and the dependency of websites such as Viagogo and StubHub upon large-scale commercial ticket resellers.

“We strongly suspect Peter Hunter and David Smith are not exceptional, and that other suppliers to these sites may also acquire tickets by unlawful means - no questions asked.

“Given the outcome of this case, it is now urgent that National Trading Standards are resourced to increase the scope of their investigations, and for the Competition & Markets Authority to apply further scrutiny towards the secondary ticketing market overall.

“If the likes of Viagogo, StubHub and other secondary sites operate without due diligence then their directors must be held to account.”

FanFair Alliance is a campaign against “industrial-scale online ticket touting” supported by the management of artists including Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, PJ Harvey, Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Mark Knopfler, The xx, Adele, Pixies, Iron Maiden and George Ezra.

The jury’s decision after a three month trial puts a red flag on the following scams:

•using multiple credit cards and friends, employee and family accounts to get tickets.

•using optimised browsers that autofill buyer details to beat real fans to tickets.

•selling tickets where organisers have banned resale and might result in not getting in.

•spec selling of tickets that touts don’t even own.

Peter Hunter and David Smith – who traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ – used multiple identifies and computer bots to buy £4 million worth of tickets over two-and-a-half years, selling them on secondary ticketing websites for £10.8 million, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court.

The prosecution is the first of its kind in the UK since National Trading Standards began investigating the reselling of tickets on the internet in 2017.

During a three-month trial prosecution barristers said the pair were “internet ticket-touts” who harvested and resold large numbers of tickets to a range of events including top music acts like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift and West End hits like Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

They sold the tickets on secondary ticketing sites, including the “big four” – Viagogo, GetMein, StubHub and Seatwave – at inflated prices, the prosecution said.

Hunter said he started out buying six to eight tickets at a time and David Smith buying the same. But he then started using family and friends’ cards before developing a portfolio of identities and using technology to hoover up tickets.

The prosecution of Hunter and Smith is a first for National Trading Standards, who began to investigate bulk ticket re-sellers in April 2017.

But the UK authorities have spent years investigating concerns about the secondary ticketing market and trying to force change on the major players, including the so-called Big Four websites - Viagogo, StubHub, GetMeIn and Seatwave.

GetMeIn and Seatwave, which were owned by one of the biggest players in the primary ticket selling market - Ticketmaster - have subsequently closed down.

And, at the end of last year, the size of these businesses was underlined when Viagogo launched a takeover of StubHub for a reported 4 billion (£3.1 billion) - a move the New York Times said would “create a behemoth in the growing market for ticket re-sales”.

The re-selling of tickets by touts is thought to be worth up to £700 million in the UK alone.

The now-defunct Office of Fair Trading first published a report on the secondary ticketing industry in 2005 and its successor, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has spent almost a decade grappling with the Big Four over their practices.

At various stages the firms have given undertakings to give improved information to buyers about the tickets listed on their sites - information including if there are restrictions that could result in buyers being denied access to an event and people should know if the seller is a business or an event organiser.

But the CMA was forced to take high-profile court action against Viagogo when it ignored the authority.

Last month, the CMA issued its latest warning, telling StubHub it could be breaking consumer law and telling the company to make changes to its website or risk court action.

The authority said it is concerned that the re-seller “is not complying with commitments it made to clean up its site”.

During the hearing Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, told the jury that Hunter and Smith were “dishonest fraudsters motivated by greed”.

But Hunter and Smith argued that they did nothing wrong.

Hunter’s defence team told the jury that they were a trusted and reliable source of tickets and pointed to the thousands of positive reviews Hunter had when he started out selling on eBay.

Ben Douglas-Jones QC, for Hunter, said that his client was no more greedy than other businessmen providing a service.

He said the prosecution’s focus on high-profile, high sought-after events missed the fact that sellers like Hunter, who is originally from Dublin, provided a valuable service to acts who struggled to sell out venues and to punters who, like barristers, found it difficult to be available to buy from the primary sellers in the tiny windows when tickets are issued.

Mr Douglas-Jones said his client did not shirk from the fact that some of his actions breached terms and conditions of the primary ticket sellers. But he said that this did not constitute a criminal offence and told the jury it was known across the industry that many of the T&Cs were unenforceable.

He told the jury: “We live in a society where things are bought and sold. They are only sold at a price which people are willing to pay for them.”

Hunter, 51, and Smith, 66, of Crossfield Road, north London, were both found guilty of fraudulent trading and possessing an article for fraud on Thursday.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/supertouts-who-made-11m-fleecing-21491297
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 04:30:49 AM by rebel23 »

Offline jacobs chains

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 05:19:57 AM »
This is being hailed as 'landmark' case. They were selling concert tickets but this should have implications for football tickets.


How is this case relevant to football in general and us in particular? It's two totally separate markets. These guys were bulk buying tickets for one-off events and selling them online. You simply can't do that at Anfield.

Our problem is twats with 10-20 season tickets flogging them a game at a time round the pubs and on Facebook.

Offline ToneLa

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 06:37:34 AM »
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/feb/13/football-tickets-being-resold-on-stubhub-at-huge-profit-full-scale


Revealed: full scale of football tickets being resold on StubHub at huge profit

    €1.5m of tickets for one Liverpool game sold or advertised

Offline Alan_X

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 07:43:12 AM »
How is this case relevant to football in general and us in particular? It's two totally separate markets. These guys were bulk buying tickets for one-off events and selling them online. You simply can't do that at Anfield.

Our problem is twats with 10-20 season tickets flogging them a game at a time round the pubs and on Facebook.

They weren't bulk buying. They were selling to bulk re-sellers:

Hunter said he started out buying six to eight tickets at a time and David Smith buying the same. But he then started using family and friends’ cards before developing a portfolio of identities and using technology to hoover up tickets.

The prosecution of Hunter and Smith is a first for National Trading Standards, who began to investigate bulk ticket re-sellers in April 2017.


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Offline rebel23

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 07:51:24 AM »
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/feb/13/football-tickets-being-resold-on-stubhub-at-huge-profit-full-scale


Revealed: full scale of football tickets being resold on StubHub at huge profit

    €1.5m of tickets for one Liverpool game sold or advertised

Wow, nice find Tone.

With this new case perhaps the club can crackdown on the bastards!

Offline Lusty

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 08:32:27 AM »
Not sure it will affect football much because reselling football tickets is already illegal in this country.  I don't think that's true for concerts or other sports.

The problem is that most of the touts base themselves overseas so they can get around it.

Offline ToneLa

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 08:51:25 AM »
Wow, nice find Tone.

With this new case perhaps the club can crackdown on the bastards!

I hope so! It's pretty big news and not remotely surprising. The scale of it is quite something. I hope the club move to protect their revenue (it's not often you type a sentence like that, but it's right here!)

Offline ToneLa

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 10:28:43 AM »
“Evidence seen by the Guardian indicates that one person may be behind a large proportion of transactions in English football. Internal StubHub data includes multiple listings with the same “seller ID”. Only StubHub knows who they are but they are responsible for nearly £2m of tickets advertised on one day.”

Ooh crumbs. Wonder who it is? And how they do it?

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2020, 12:35:53 PM »
“Evidence seen by the Guardian indicates that one person may be behind a large proportion of transactions in English football. Internal StubHub data includes multiple listings with the same “seller ID”. Only StubHub knows who they are but they are responsible for nearly £2m of tickets advertised on one day.”

Ooh crumbs. Wonder who it is? And how they do it?

Bobby Charlton?
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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2020, 01:11:38 PM »

Offline rebel23

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2020, 05:09:43 PM »
UPDATE

Serious jail time for the touts!

Quote
Two ticket touts who made millions of pounds from reselling pop concert seats at inflated prices have been jailed for a total of six-and-a-half years.

The touts were convicted in a landmark trial with the help of singer Ed Sheeran and his manager after they discovered a £75 ticket for one of his charity shows was on sale for £7,000.

Peter Hunter and David Smith, a married couple, used computer software and multiple identities, to scoop up sought-after tickets at face value as soon they were officially offered online.

Hunter was sentenced to four years behind bars, while Smith received a two-year jail term.

The pair's use of technology meant that, unlike individual ticket buyers, they didn't have to continually refresh their online applications during an initial selling frenzy - the computer software did it for them at great speed.

The pair were convicted of fraud after breaching restrictions that banned resales and limited the number of tickets available to individual fans. They bought 1,000 Ed Sheeran tickets from official, primary ticket websites and sold them at higher prices through secondary sites.

Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp, who gave evidence for the prosecution, told Sky News: "We had always been aware of the resale market, but £7,000 was ridiculous. That was the turning point for me.

"I don't think anyone actually bought that ticket, but it's that sort of criminality and greed we were facing, a mass harvesting of tickets. It was the Teenage Cancer Trust show at the Royal Albert Hall and we did it for free.

"We want the money to go to the right people and if someone wanted to pay £7,000 and give it to the charity then I'm delighted, but you know that wasn't the case. I don't think there was any noble intention."

To combat touts, Mr Camp restricted Sheeran world tour tickets to four per customer on primary websites and capped genuine resale prices through a trusted secondary site. He voided tickets resold elsewhere.

It caused some problems for Hunter and Smith, but they were cashing in with other artists. By buying hundreds of tickets they reduced the number available to genuine fans and, in doing so, drove up demand and prices.

They bought and resold tickets for Coldplay, Cliff Richard, Taylor Swift, Queen, Little Mix, Depeche Mode and others.

They bought nearly 500 tickets when the hugely-popular Harry Potter And The Cursed Child play opened in London's West End. Other shows they targeted included the Last Night Of The Proms and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Hunter, 51, and Smith, 66, ran what they insisted was a legitimate business from their north London terraced home. They boasted thousands of positive reviews as a trusted source of tickets.

They bought tickets at a face value of around £4m and sold them for £10.8m, a jury was told during a three-month trial at Leeds Crown Court.

They bought them from official websites Ticketmaster, See Tickets and AXS. Then they sold them on secondary sites Viagogo, StubHub, Getmein! and Seatwave.

The case was the first prosecution of its kind brought since National Trading Standards eCrime team began investigating internet ticket resales.

Dr Stephen Davies, of the Institute of Economic Affairs free-market think-tank, said the men's use of deception to buy hundreds of tickets was rightly judged illegal. But, otherwise, he argued that ticket touts perform a vital economic function.

He said: "They are brokers essentially, middlemen, and they have been around for hundreds of years. What they do is to ensure the goods in question, in this case tickets, end up in the hands of the people who want them most and are prepared to pay the highest price for them.

"This is in economic terms a market efficient outcome. Nobody is actually forced with a proverbial or metaphorical gun to their head to pay £7,000 for an Ed Sheeran ticket."

Stuart Camp said: "It's purely about mark up and lining their back pockets, it's not providing a service, it's just hindering a decent service being made to the consumer.

"It's always remiss to wish anyone to have their liberty taken away, but I think a sign needs to be sent out to people that this was a criminal act, not just a slap on the wrist, and I'd be happy if there was a custodial sentence."

https://news.sky.com/story/pair-face-jail-after-reselling-pop-concert-seats-at-inflated-prices-11941935

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2020, 06:10:29 PM »
Wow... Dr Davies sounds like a lovely person...

Offline rebel23

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2020, 12:22:28 AM »
Anyone think now that this pair are in jail the club will be able to crack down on touts? I would like to think also UEFA will too because i've seen final tickets selling for thousands similar to what these touts were charging for concerts.

I mean who seriously pays thousands for a ticket? You have to have more money than sense I guess but its certainly not your average joe.

I would like to see what the tickets for Euro 2020 go for at Wembley...

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2020, 12:45:46 AM »
I mean who seriously pays thousands for a ticket? You have to have more money than sense I guess but its certainly not your average joe.
charge it on the company account ;)

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 09:30:57 AM »
Wow... Dr Davies sounds like a lovely person...
Free market think tanker. = posher richer version of “Loadsa Money”
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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2020, 10:16:23 AM »
UPDATE

Serious jail time for the touts!

https://news.sky.com/story/pair-face-jail-after-reselling-pop-concert-seats-at-inflated-prices-11941935

If you pay £7000 for an Ed Sheeran ticket, then you are the one that should go to jail.
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Offline ToneLa

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2020, 02:13:17 PM »
That doctor is a weirdo

"He said: "They are brokers essentially, middlemen, and they have been around for hundreds of years. What they do is to ensure the goods in question, in this case tickets, end up in the hands of the people who want them most"

= fair

" and are prepared to pay the highest price for them."

= WHAT

I'd agree if they offered them at face value or very near. And only tickets from people who couldn't go.  No mass-buying

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Re: Landmark Case: Ticket touts facing jail
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2020, 02:29:52 PM »
Quote
What they do is to ensure the goods in question, in this case tickets, end up in the hands of the people who want them most and are prepared to pay the highest price for them.

As if wanting them the most and being prepared to pay the highest price for them are one and the same.