Georgia government officials have launched an investigation into an alleged unlicensed online ticket broker who was improperly reselling Taylor Swift tickets.
The Web site in question, philips-arena-atlanta.com, is no longer active, but the incident has led to state officials to contend that the Philips Arena name was used illegally in order to resell tickets. Officials, who suspect the defunct site could be part of a larger operation, are confident that ownership of this site will be traced and the owner identified.
As reported by WGCL-TV earlier this month, Atlanta-area resident Richard LaRosa first searched the Ticketmaster site for tickets to Swift’s July concerts at Atlanta’s Philips Arena, but he failed to locate any available seats. Looking for the Arena’s Web site, he found himself at philips-arena-atlanta.com where he found over 4,000 tickets, many of which were selling for two to three times their face value.
Philips Arena staff have confirmed that this site was not a legitimate venue site but was instead a third party seller using a set up which could be mistaken for a Philips Arena site. Further investigation by WGCL-TV revealed that the broker operating the site is not licensed, which is in violation of Georgia law. The media reports led state officials to launch the investigation.
“Right now we’re looking into and we’re investigating it,” Don Geary, vice chairman of the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission, told WGCL-TV. The commission oversees the ticket broker industry. “There could be hundreds if not thousands of people that contacted the site and attempted to purchase tickets.”
Ticket resale is legal in Georgia with some stipulations. In addition to obtaining an annual license, ticket brokers must operate an office in the state, and they may resell tickets both through their office and the internet. Brokers must guarantee a full refund in the event of a cancellation, and all refund policies must be made available to customers.
State law also allows event sponsors to decide whether tickets can be resold, and brokers and fans can resell their tickets at any price.
At event time, scalping is prohibited inside a designated buffer zone around a venue, though an event sponsor has the power to allow resale within that area at their discretion.