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Spain opens fraud probe after online resale of U2 concert tickets for more than €900

Culture Minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo decries the “regulatory vacuum” caused by legislation that only covers physical selling

U2 have not played in Spain for 13 years.
U2 have not played in Spain for 13 years. Getty Images

The Spanish Interior Ministry is conducting an investigation into alleged fraud over the online resale of tickets for a U2 concert in Spain, the country’s education, culture and sports minister, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, announced today in Congress.

The general tickets – priced between €60 and €70 – sold out in barely 10 minutes, only to reappear for resale between €200 and €952

The Irish rock group has not put on a concert in Madrid for 13 years, and the demand for tickets for the September date was such that the band decided to add a second performance. But the official platform for ticket sales, Ticketmaster, saw the general tickets – priced between €60 and €70 – sell out in barely 10 minutes, only to immediately reappear for resale on other websites such as viagogo.es, tengoentradas.com and stubhub.es, where prices ranged from a minimum of €200 to a maximum €952.

The incident prompted authorities to launch an investigation into what was described to the Europa Press news agency as “evidence” of “abusive resales.”

Speaking in Congress on Wednesday, Minister Méndez de Vigo detailed the measures that had been taken to deal with these “abusive practices.”

Among these, he told the lower house, is a plan to reach an agreement with Spain’s autonomous regions – who have the legal powers in this area – to introduce legislation against the online resale of tickets.

Screen grab of U2 tickets on sale for €952 on the website stubhub.es. ampliar foto
Screen grab of U2 tickets on sale for €952 on the website stubhub.es.

Méndez de Vigo said his department had asked the Interior Ministry to look into related activities by the U2 concert promoters Live Nation, TicketMaster and Viagogo.

Méndez de Vigo explained that technology has left a “regulatory vacuum” in this area, given that current legislation only covers physical resales and not online ones.

Similar cases took place last year with the sale of tickets for concerts featuring Spanish artists Alejandro Sanz and Joaquín Sabina.

The ministry’s investigations, Méndez de Vigo added, have also prompted companies such as Google to “toughen up” the conditions applied to online ticket sales, including identifying the name of the buyer.

“This is a good way to combat these abusive practices, which go against the interest of the consumer and make culture, something that belongs to all of us, much more expensive,” the government spokesman stated.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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