Superstar Ed declares war on the touts; Management hail clampdown on rogue ticket traders.
Byline: MARK MCGIVERN firstname.lastname@example.org
ED SHEERAN'S management and promoters claim his anti-tout drive has been a success, despite ticket agents Viagogo trying to spoil the party for genuine fans.
Thousands of tickets snapped up by touts were cancelled by the star's management, who also insist on those buying briefs turning up at venues with the paper versions and credit cards used to buy them.
STUB OUT TOUTS The initiative has helped avoid the carve-up at Ed's last shows at the SSE Hydro, where a Record investigation showed it was targeted by industrial-scale touts.
Despite the success, Google have been accused of "aiding and abetting" Viagogo by promoting the sale of invalid tickets for Ed's forthcoming tour for up to PS1060 each.
The top result under a Google search for "Ed Sheeran concert tickets" is from Viagogo, who pay the search engine to be put ahead of the offical sale site.
The tickets are invalid because their resale is prohibited on unauthorised sites - a clear breach of the Consumer Protection Act, which was recently updated to hinder touts.
Last night, Ed Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp blasted Viagogo for their efforts to help touts rip off fans.
Camp said: "Viagogo are operating completely in breach of the newly updated Consumer Rights Act. In the broad sense, they fail to provide information on original face value, precise seat details and seller.
"This enables exorbitant price hikes and counters many promoters' rights to invalidate tickets if seat numbers aren't displayed.
"By cancelling tickets made available through these sites - and by other professional touts buying up tickets in large quantities - we are controlling the pricing of tickets to the fans and getting as many directly into their hands at the correct price."
Consumer champion Claire Turnham, who runs the Victim of Viagogo campaign, slammed Google for taking the Viagogo cash.
She said: "I don't understand why Google allow these advertisements. The tickets being sold are clearly not valid."
A Google spokesman said: "We have a set of strict policies which govern what ads we do and do not allow on. When we discover ads that break our policies, we quickly take action."
Sheeran promoters Kilimanjaro Live have teamed up with the National Trading Standards cyber crime team to identified multiple purchases by touts. As a result, 10,000 tickets were cancelled and returned to the market place for real fans to buy at face value.
A Record investigation earlier this year found that of 325 tickets listed on Get Me In! for the Sheeran gigs in April, 161 were held by touts who identify themselves as businesses.
The initiative by Sheeran comes amid our Stub Out the Touts campaign.
The Record last night approached Viagogo for a comment but they failed to reply..
IN DEMAND Ed Sheeran