The ticket resale site StubHub is under scrutiny for possible partnerships with large-scale scalping operators, according to an investigation from The Toronto Star, using information disclosed in the Paradise Papers.
According to the report, StubHub has worked with a Montreal ticket reseller who’s responsible for buying 310 tickets in 25 minutes for a Adele performance in London in 2016. He also purchased tickets for Drake, Ed Sheeran and Metallica.
“That partnership amounts to what industry insiders call a bombshell: evidence that the world’s largest ticket-reselling website — which bills itself as a middleman helping fans share tickets — is facilitating mass-market scalping,” according to the Star. In August, officials raided StubHub’s London office and seized records related to the company’s dealings with ticket scalpers, according to the Star, though there have yet to be any changes filed.
Anyone who has purchased tickets in the last decade understands the process is neither isn’t convenient or easy.
It often involves the use of multiple digital devices (phone, computer, tablet) and more than a bit of luck.
Partly, that’s because consumers are competing with ticket brokers who are buying en mass. In October, for example, one ticket broker used bots to buy up 30,000 tickets to “Hamilton” – or more than 30 percent of Ticketmaster’s available stock, according to Variety. That case ended in a federal suit.
Consumers are doubly hurt when those tickets end up on the secondary market – on sites like Stubhub – at inflated prices.
Tickets to those Adele concerts appeared on resale websites for up to close to $1,2000, the Guardian reported at the time.
The secondary ticket market is big business – like $8 billion big, according to the New York Times in 2016, when the senate passed the Better Online Ticket Sales Act. The bill outlaws the use of or computer programs to buy tickets for resale on the secondary market.
Stubhub, which promotes itself as a fan-to-fan resale site, said it “agrees that the use of bots to procure tickets is unfair and anti-consumer,” and has always supported anti-bots legislation, according to CBC News. And StubHub does requires users to “follow all relevant laws,” according to its own site. At the same time, it runs a password-protected portal and offers special incentives for sellers who prove they can move more than $50,000 worth of tickets a year, according to CBC.
It also offers special software so sellers can upload and manage huge inventories of tickets, the story said.
So far, StubHub has refused to comment on claims of any “partnerships” with scalpers, according to CBC.