The Federal Trade Commission has imposed multi-million dollar fines on three robot-based ticket scalping operations. The FTC says these organizations have purchased more than 150,000 event tickets in the past four years, catching them with automated tools that bypassed online purchasing limits. After reselling those tickets for an estimated $ 26.1 million, they were charged with breaking a 2016 anti-bot law – the first time this law was enforced.
Regulators have reached a proposed settlement with the ticket groups, including $ 31.6 million in fines. However, most of these fines were suspended due to inability to pay. The three groups will pay a total of $ 3.7 million instead and will be required to keep records demonstrating their future compliance with the law. The settlement has yet to be approved by a judge.
The Best Online Ticket Sellers (BOTS) Act prohibits the use of software to bypass ticket purchase limits – a practice that allows resellers to buy tickets in bulk and resell them for a hefty price. . “Not only does this rob loyal fans of the chance to see their favorite artists and shows, it’s against the law,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s consumer protection office, said in a statement.
While the complaints do not specify which shows the scalpers targeted, they do note that the list includes many sporting events and other shows, including concerts by Elton John.