Weekly Feature

2017-05-17 / Local News

Schneiderman announces settlements with ticket companies

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced settlements with six ticket brokers that illegally purchased and resold hundreds of thousands of tickets in New York state since 2011, including on popular ticket resale platforms like StubHub and Vivid Seats.

Five of the companies – Renaissance Ventures, LLC of Connecticut, Ebrani Corp. of New York, Concert Specials, Inc. of New York, Fanfetch Inc. of New York and BMC Capital Partners, Inc. of New York – violated New York’s ticket laws by using illegal software known as ticket “bots” to purchase large numbers of tickets on websites such as Ticketmaster.com before the tickets could be obtained by consumers. After obtaining the tickets illegally, resellers then resold them at a large profit to New York consumers, among others. Five of the companies – Prestige Entertainment, Presidential Tickets, Concert Specials, Fanfetch and JAL Enterprises, LLC of Massachusetts – each illegally sold tickets to events in New York over the last several years without first obtaining the required license.

The settlements require that the companies and their principals maintain proper ticket reseller licenses if they wish to resell tickets to New York events, abstain from using bots, and pay penalties for having operated illegally. The settlements require the six companies to pay a combined total of $4.19 million in disgorged profits and penalties to the state.

“Unscrupulous ticket resellers who break the rules and take advantage of ordinary consumers are one of the major reasons why ticketing remains a rigged system,” said Schneiderman. “We will continue to fight to make ticketing a more fair and transparent marketplace, so fans have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite shows and events. Anybody who breaks the law will pay a steep price.”

Schneiderman’s investigation found that Prestige Entertainment ran one of the largest ticket purchasing and reselling operations in the United States. Prestige Entertainment used at least two different bots and thousands of credit cards and Ticketmaster accounts to purchase tickets to New York shows. Prestige Entertainment used all of its illegal advantages to great effect, purchasing huge quantities of tickets to popular shows. For example, the company purchased 1,012 tickets to a 2014 U2 Concert at Madison Square Garden in one minute.

Prestige Entertainment paid $3,350,000, Concert Specials paid $480,000, Presidential Tickets paid $125,000, BMC Capital paid $95,000, Top Star Tickets paid $85,000, and Fanfetch paid $55,000.

Since releasing its report on the concert and sports ticket industry titled, “Obstructed View: What’s Blocking New Yorkers From Getting Tickets” in January 2016, the AG’s office has now announced settlements with 15 businesses involved in the illegal ticket trade, including resellers, facilitators, and software developers, for a total of $7.1 million. The office’s broader investigation into the secondary ticketing industry remains ongoing.

In 2016, New York enacted legislation that added criminal penalties for bot use to the existing civil penalties. That law took effect in February 2017.

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