CONSUMER: The UK’s National Trading Standards authority has begun legal action against nine alleged ticket touts on charges of money laundering and breaches of consumer rights law following an investigations. The nine are split between three secondary ticketing organisations – Connoco, BZZ and Ticket Queen.
National Trading Standards is one of two UK government agencies that have been investigating the secondary ticketing market and compliance with consumer rights law, including the specific ticket resale regulations introduced by the 2015 Consumer Rights Act. The Competition & Markets Authority focused on the main ticket resale platforms including Seatwave, Get Me In, StubHub and (in particular) Viagogo. National Trading Standards has investigated individuals and companies using these platforms to re-sell tickets.
The accused include Timothy Connor, who has been charged alongside his girlfriend and his parents (they are ‘Connoco’), and who allegedly used multiple names, addresses, credit cards and bespoke “sophisticated browser software” to acquire substantial numbers of tickets from primary ticketing sites. NTS say that, between June 2015 and December 2017, together they bought £2.3 million in tickets which they resold for £4.5 million. At a hearing at York Magistrates Court, the defendants indicated they would enter a not guilty plea.
Two other defendants, Peter Hunter and David Smith (‘BZZ’), have already appeared in court where it was alleged they brought £4 million worth of tickets between June 2015 and February 2018, and sold these on for £10.8 million. The pair were arrested last year in an investigation known as Operation Eiffel. They have also indicated in court that they will plead not guilty. York Crown Court set a preliminary trial date of 1st July 2019.
Maria Chenery-Woods, Mark Woods and Linda Chenery, of TQ Limited, trading as Ticket Queen, were arrested last year in an investigation called Operation Zebedee.
The prosecutions are related to raids conducted by National Trading Standards last year and various arrests.