Ticket touts who made £10.8 million reselling tickets for major artists such as Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift were jailed on Monday after being found guilty of fraud in a landmark ruling.
Trading as Ticket Wiz and BZZ, Peter Hunter, 51, and David Smith, 66, had used at least 97 different names, 88 postal addresses and more than 290 email addresses to avoid restrictions put in place on primary ticket-selling websites which limit the number of tickets one person can buy. Using bots, they purchased £4 million worth of tickets to major events before reselling them through sites such as Viagogo and StubHub.
Hunter was sentenced to four years behind bars at Leeds crown court, while Smith, his husband, received a 30-month custodial sentence.
Ed Sheeran’s manager, Stuart Camp, and promoter Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live gave evidence during the landmark trial which resulted in the first prosecution of its kind in the UK. The trial was brought forward after an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team.
FanFair Alliance, which campaigns against the industrial-scale secondary ticketing industry, issued a statement following the ruling, stating that the rulings “represent a major blow to online ticket touts who break the law and rip off the public.” They went on to say that the case “should send shockwaves through secondary ticketing platforms whose businesses are dependent upon large-scale resellers.”
The ruling presents a massive win for consumers, who now have a better chance of obtaining concert tickets at face value when they go on sale, as more prosecutions of this kind are inevitable now that this precedent has been set. The takedown of industrial-scale touts will also give purer data to tour managers when it comes to concert attendance and sales.