Calls for a criminal investigation have been voiced after Viagogo was accused of providing professional touts with ‘inventory management tools’ that appear to support speculative ticketing.
Evidence obtained by the Guardian newspaper suggested that the toolkit, which is only available to professional touts, allows resellers to compose listings for tickets that have not gone on sale yet.
Sellers are permitted to tick a box marked “I own the tickets”, even though this would not be possible for an event that has not yet released tickets.
Another function, entitled “Clones”, allows sellers to duplicate a listing multiple times, allowing users to sell dozens of tickets in smaller batches.
The Labour MP Sharon Hodgson said, according to the Guardian: “As well as calling for the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate these new revelations, I now believe that there should be a full criminal investigation into the conduct of prominent resale platforms and their links to touts committing offences.
“It is of upmost importance that law enforcement ensures that these platforms are not benefiting from the proceeds of crime.”
The Viagogo inventory manager also has a ‘market research’ page, which presents sellers with information about upcoming events, some of which are categorised as “high demand, low supply” with a dollar-sign symbol indicating likely profitability.
The platform also gives touts a summary of their transaction activity that assists them with bookkeeping.
TheTicketingBusiness.com has contacted Viagogo for comment.
Last week, two ticket resellers that were found guilty earlier this month of fraud were sentenced to a total of six and a half years in prison. Peter Hunter and David Smith, who traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ, were found guilty of fraudulent trading in relation to the resale of £11m worth of tickets for the likes of Ed Sheeran, big sporting events, and West End shows such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Leeds Crown Court.
The touts spent more than £4m on primary ticket sites between June 2015 and December 2017, and sold them on resale sites such as GetMeIn and Seatwave, which have since been shut down, as well as StubHub and Viagogo for £10.8m.