Ticket touts face unlimited fines over crackdown on resale websites

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  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ria Chatterjee

Ticket touts who use computer programs to buy vast quantities of concert tickets before selling them for huge profits are to face unlimited fines.

The move is part of a crackdown by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on resale websites where tickets are sold at many times their face value.

One secondary ticketing website, Viagogo, was last month accused of "moral repugnance"for reselling tickets to an Ed Sheeran cancer charity gig for up to £5,000.

There was also an £85 seat to see Adele at the London O2 last year which was reportedly being sold online for £24,840.

Automated "bots" can get around security measures designed to limit ticket purchases and snap up hundreds of tickets as soon as they go on sale.

The tickets then appear at vastly-inflated prices on resale sites, which also include GET ME IN! and StubHub.

But the use of bots will now become a criminal offence and touts who break the law will face an unlimited fine.

Culture minister Matt Hancock said: "This profiteering is simply not fair, so we are acting to put fans first and improve the chances of seeing our favourite musicians and sports stars at a reasonable price.

"Ticket sellers also need to do more, by improving transparency and ensuring that they are acting in the best interests of consumers and help the market work for everyone."

The move was welcomed by Jo Dipple, the chief executive of music industry representatives UK Music.

She said: "Massive profit is made by people who are taking value out of the music industry and putting tickets out of the reach of music fans.

Primary ticket firms, such as Ticketmaster, will also be encouraged to report bot attacks to police as the Government takes on the recommendations made in a review by Professor Michael Waterson.

The firms must also introduce tougher anti-bot measures and there will be stronger enforcement of existing consumer rights laws.