NEW YORK – Three US ticket brokers have agreed to settle civil charges they brought against consumers for illegally buying and reselling tens of thousands of tickets to concerts, theater, sports and other events at substantial markups.
Compare with Just In Time Tickets Inc., Concert Specials Inc., Cartisim Corp. – all based in Great Neck, New York – and their owners totaling $ 35.3 million were announced on Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
The settlements sparked initial enforcement action under the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, a 2016 law that prohibits the use of « bots » and other means to circumvent ticket purchase limits for events imposed by online sellers.
Authorities said the defendants had purchased more than 155,000 tickets through Ticketmaster, a unit of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., since 2017 and had more than $ 26.1 million in resale revenues, often at substantial markups.
Brokers have been accused of creating fake accounts under fictitious names, using hundreds of credit cards, and deploying automated software to thwart Ticketmaster’s efforts to ban multiple accounts and non-human buyers.
« Those who break the BOTS Act are cheating fans, » Seth DuCharme, the acting US attorney in Brooklyn, said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, the defendants will pay $ 3.7 million and have been fined a total of $ 31.6 million. The fines will not be collected if the defendants meet several conditions.
The defendants’ lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by John Stonestreet)