CONSUMER / CRIMINAL
Live events sector
A ticket tout who sold over £400,000 worth of bogus concert and sports tickets in a 13-month period between May 2009 and June 2010 has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
John Lupton (53) of Upper Norwood, appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court where he was found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of money laundering. He has also been banned from acting as a company director until 2026.
The London Evening Standard reported that defrauded customers paid £636,000 to two of Lupton’s dummy companies, Lines Direct Ltd and Williams & Hill Ltd, but at least £435,000 worth of tickets were not supplied, When buyers requested refunds, they found that the companies had been dissolved and their bank accounts cleared.
Companies House also lists three other companies of which Lupton is or was a director: Festival Ticket Store Ltd, Dracrow Ltd and Commercial Logistics and Trading Ltd.
It appears that whist a director of the companies, Lupton was not the ‘brains’ behind the operation, and investigations continue. Allison Clare, prosecuting, said there is no prospect of recovering the money as Lupton was sleeping on his mother’s settee and living off benefits when he was arrested in March 2011.
Also in the UK, Music and theatre tickets are routinely being sold unlawfully on the UK’s biggest secondary ticketing websites, according to consumer magazine Which? Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, buyers must be told the original face value of any tickets being resold and, where appropriate, the seat numbers. After investigating more than 200 listings Which? found “numerous examples” of the rules being breached. Which? looked at listings for Beyonce’s Formation Tour, Catherine Tate’s comedy show, Jersey Boys, Magic of the Musicals and Wicked the Musical across the four main ticketing sites – Viagogo, Seatwave, Stubhub and Getmein! and found many examples where the act’s provisions were ignored.
The Swiss Music Promoters’ Association (SMPA) has outlined its case for regulation of the country’s secondary ticketing market, arguing that the system as it stands is characterised by “excessive prices, forgeries, irritation and disappointment” and offers “no protection” to consumers. While there are currently no restrictions on reselling tickets in Switzerland – the Federal Council, which governs the central European state, has previously stated that to “restrict the resale of legally acquired property would violate the principles of free competition, economic freedom and the guarantee of ownership” – SMPA says it “nevertheless intends to fight secondary market abuse”.