For the first time ever, the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act) has been able to take legal action against violators of the bill. Three companies in New York allegedly violated rules set in place by the Federal Trade Commission under the BOTS Act by illegally purchasing over 150,000 concert and sporting event tickets, reselling them at an inflated price.
“These defendants are alleged to have cheated the system to the detriment of consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s filing serves notice that the Department of Justice will enforce the Better Online Ticket Sales Act in appropriate cases. We are pleased to work with our partners at the Federal Trade Commission on this and other matters important to consumers.”
The three ticket brokers charged in the case are Simon Ebrani of Cartisim Corp., Evan Kohanian of Just In Time Tickets, Inc. and Steven Ebrani of Concert Specials, Inc. The defendants allegedly circumvented Ticketmaster’s limitations by creating accounts under the names of family members and friends of users who have multiple accounts. They were also said to use ticket “bots” in order to fool tests of nonhuman visitors.
It doesn’t stop there, though. In addition to the act of cheating the system, the complaint also alleges that they used programs to conceal what they did. Because of the BOTS Act, the defendants will now have to pay a combined penalty of $3.7 million. the money they pay will go to the U.S. Treasury under the terms of the proposed order.
Those who violate the BOTS Act cheat fans by forcing them to pay inflated prices to attend concerts, theater performances and sporting events.Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme for the Eastern District of New York.
President Barack Obama passed the BOTS Act in 2016 to allow the FTC to take legal action against companies or individuals that buy large quantities of event tickets and reselling them at a higher price.
As of right now, this has been the first and only legal action the FTC has had to take against any company.