Two British ticket scalpers who used multiple identities and bots to buy over £4 million worth of tickets have been convicted on fraud charges.
Peter Hunter and David Smith, known as Ticket Wiz and BZZ, were exposed to the public after The Guardian investigated into the secondary market in the country. The pair reportedly scalped tickets for concerts such as Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, and Taylor Swift, with over 750 Sheeran tickets from the duo alone. They reportedly used over 100 different names and 88 separate postal addresses to avoid detection and engaged in speculative selling or listing tickets for sale which they did not own.
According to court documents, the duo sold the tickets on various secondary sites for £10.8 million ($14.1 million USD). Two of the sites Hunter and Smith used to sell tickets – GetMeIn and Seatwave – have since shut down.
“Some people may think sites like Seatwave, StubHub, GetMeIn, and Viagogo and sellers are parasitic,” Hunter’s attorney, Ben Douglas-Jones QC said at the time. “Others may think the market functions because it puts people who own a commodity that they are willing to sell together with others who wish to purchase it at an agreed price.”
Douglas-Jones went on to note that while parliament had the opportunity to remove the secondary market, it hasn’t, and “there is nothing illegal about reselling tickets.”
While Douglas-Jones admitted that the pair breached the terms and conditions of the sites where they bought tickets, that did not mean they were guilty of a criminal offense.
Adam Webb, campaign manager of FanFair Alliance responded to the conviction.
“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,” Webb told DigitalMusicNews, noting that “we strongly suspect Peter Hunter and David Smith are not exceptional.”