LED ZEP RIP-OFF; EXCLUSIVE Tickets sell for pounds 1,500 and could be worthless.
ROCK fans desperate to get tickets for Midland supergroup Led Zeppelin's reunion concert face heartbreak - because of touts selling them for pounds 1,500 a time on ebay.
The internet auction site has been flooded with tickets to the December 10 charity gig, despite a ballot system set up by promoters to beat the black marketeers.
And some of them may not be worth the paper they are printed on because strict security surrounding the show at London's O2 Arena means buyers may still not get in.
Unwary fans are splashing out cash, unaware that only the original purchaser of the tickets can use them, and that they may not be admitted without showing photo ID.
In a trawl of ebay, the Sunday Mercury found standing tickets for the show selling for between pounds 800 and pounds 1,600 a time - up to 12 times their pounds 125 face value - with no shortage of bidders.
But their happiness could be short-lived.
Admission restrictions are amongst the toughest ever seen at a rock concert.
Fans had to enter a worldwide ballot for the chance to snap up the 20,000 tickets, and those lucky enough to have been selected in a random draw were informed by e-mail.
But no tickets are being mailed out.
Instead, each fan has been given a special passcode with which they can confirm their identity when they collect their tickets at the box office before the show.
In an extra security measure, ticket holders will have a non-transferable band strapped tightly to their wrist. If it is damaged or defaced in any way, it will become invalid.
As a final precaution against the touts, photo ID may be demanded. If fans cannot prove they were successful in the ballot, they will be turned away.
Some 100 tickets for the gig have already been cancelled after touts unscrupulously auctioned off security passcodes on the internet auction site at pounds 500 a time.
Promoter Harvey Goldsmith, the man behind the original Live Aid, was last night furious about the internet trade.
"Each ticket holder has an individual passcode," he said. "That passcode and the name of the applicant are married together.
So if the passcode is sold to another party, the tickets will be invalid.
"I expected one or two to be touted but not to this extent. Touting is a business now - they had people making multiple entries to the ballot on the basis that they would probably get something.
"Ebay has been allowing fraudulent transactions to take place. We wrote to them but they weren't interested."
The auction site places all responsibility on the shoulders of those selling tickets.
"Before listing an item, you should carefully read any contracts that you have entered into that may limit your right to sell your item on ebay," ebay bosses warn.
"Some event tickets have terms printed on the item that may limit your ability to sell that item. Ebay does not search for items that may raise these types of issues or take sides in contract disputes.
"However, we want you to be aware that listing items in violation of your contractual obligations could put you at risk.
"Ebay therefore urges that you not list any item until you have reviewed any relevant contracts or agreements, and are confident you can legally sell it on ebay.
"You are responsible for ensuring that your transaction is lawful. If you have any questions regarding your rights we strongly recommend that you contact the company with whom you entered into the contract or consult with a solicitor."
The O2 show, which features Led Zeppelin, Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman, Foreigner and Paolo Nutini, is in aid of the late Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun's educational charity.
It was originally scheduled for November 26 but had to be postponed after Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page broke a finger.
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