Four People Arrested as Part Of U.K. Investigation Into Secondary Ticketing

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Four people have been arrested and a number of properties have been raided as part of an ongoing investigation into the U.K. secondary ticketing market.  

The raids were carried out yesterday (Dec 12) by officers from British government body National Trading Standards. Computer equipment, mobile phones and storage devices were seized and held as evidence. Local police, specialist police officers and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team assisted with the operation. No details have been released about the four individuals arrested or businesses they work for.

"These raids are part of an ongoing investigation looking into unfair practices in the secondary ticketing market and particularly the practices of businesses that buy and sell tickets in bulk," said a statement from National Trading Standards.

The consumer rights body began looking into the practice of bulk buying and selling tickets earlier this year. It is working alongside sister government agency the Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) to investigate suspected breaches of U.K. consumer law by secondary tickets vendors.

Last month, the CMA announced that is to take "enforcement action" against secondary ticketing websites it suspects of breaking U.K. regulations regarding the buying and selling of tickets.

The threat of enforcement action follows an almost two-year investigation into whether the U.K.’s four leading secondary sites -- eBay-owned StubHub, Switzerland-headquartered Viagogo and Ticketmaster-operated platforms GetMeIn! and Seatwave -- were guilty of breaching the law as set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. 

That legislation dictates that secondary vendors must notify buyers of a ticket’s original face value, provide information on its seat number and location inside a concert venue and inform ticket buyers of any connections that sellers may have with the platform or event organizers.

Although the CMA does not have the power to issue fines, failure to comply with its findings can be passed onto the British courts. 

After a thorough investigation into the sector, the CMA said last month that it had "identified concerns that the law protecting consumers is being broken" and would be requiring websites to make the required changes.

The agency has since widened the scope of its original investigation to look into pressure selling in the secondary market and whether claims made about the availability of tickets create a misleading impression or rush customers into buying a ticket.

In a statement, National Trading Standards said it would be "making no further comment regarding these raids and our ongoing investigation at this time."