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eBay and tickets

The Sunday Times - Ireland


January 30, 2005

U2 ticket touts purged by eBay as fans lose out


TOUTS selling U2 concert tickets on the eBay auction website are being chased
off the web this weekend after action by lawyers acting for U2.com. Legal
advisers for the band’s website contacted eBay after thousands of tickets
appeared on the auction site a few hours after a special advance sale for fans.

Almost 3,000 listings for tickets for U2 concerts in America and Britain have
been offered on eBay for up to $425 (€325) each, several times their face value.
One seller offering two floor tickets to a Boston show for $495 boasts: “I have
tickets to U2’s entire North American leg of the tour.”

Ticket touts succeeded where many genuine fans failed last week, as the first
online advance sale by U2 caused widespread disappointment.

After paying $40 (€31) in membership fees for the right to buy tickets before
they went on sale to the public, some fan club members found the code they had
been given did not allow them to buy tickets — or that they could only buy seats
far back from the stage. U2’s official website and Billboard.com were bombarded
by complaints and some fans are threatening legal action.

This weekend U2.com was working with eBay to remove tickets being sold above
face value. The auction site does not allow the sale of concert tickets at more
than face value in American states where this is illegal.

One tout had posted up four tickets for an arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey,
with a starting bid of $1,699. Another had two tickets at Madison Square Garden
in New York for at least $629.

“U2.com, working with eBay, has already taken down 77 postings and are
continuing to work on preventing touts using the system,” said a U2 spokesman.
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