A number of major ticket reselling organisations in the UK have rebranded their organisations following the announcement of investigations by the country’s tax and competition authorities.
The Guardian newspaper reports that Newman Corporation, Ticket Wiz and 1st Choice Tickets each changed their details around the time that inquiries were announced by Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) towards the end of 2016.
The report said that Andrew Newman, who was accused of being “one of the UK’s most successful touts” in an investigation by the Observer, has since changed his company’s name from Newman Corporation to North Financial Group (NFG) and has also deleted his Twitter account. It said that records at Companies House showed that NFG had assets of £1.6m ($2m/€1.9m) in 2015, up from £1.1m the previous year.
Ticket Wiz owner Peter Hunter changed the name of his company to BZZ on December 21 – just two days after the CMA said it planned to investigate the secondary ticketing industry.
Another operator, 1st Choice Tickets, was rebranded as WRT Services three weeks after the Culture, Media and Sport Committee promised an inquiry into ticket abuse and said they would ask HMRC to look into the industry.
The Guardian added that touts have responded to increased attention by listing their company information and contact details alongside tickets. However, it added that many are still failing to comply with requirements.
It reported that one tout, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s not as if I’m supplying something people can’t go without like housing or food. It’s just entertainment put on for commercial gain.”
Late last year the CMA, the UK’s competition watchdog, said a new enquiry into the secondary ticketing market would be carried out “as quickly and efficiently as possible”. The CMA launched an enforcement investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the sector.