Secondary ticket seller poor practices
Office of Fair Trading (OFT) closed consumer enforcement case.
Case Ref: CRE-E/25937
Investigation against: Mr Sanjay Malhotra
Issue: Investigation into theatre ticket and sporting events online services provider
Relevant instruments: Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
In September 2012 the case team liaised with the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman who had previously confirmed that they were investigating Sanjay Malhotra ('Mr Malhotra') in relation to potential breaches under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The Norwegian team had received a number of complaints in relation to the business practices employed by Mr Malhotra. The OFT decided that (i) in light of the advanced stages of the Norwegian team's investigation; and (ii) because Mr Malhotra was physically located in Norway; and (iii) to reduce duplication of work, that the OFT would pass the evidence gathered, during the course of their investigation, to the Norwegian team.
In 2010 the OFT launched a civil investigation into an online trader, who was concerned in offering for sale, to UK consumers, tickets, for sporting and/or cultural events. The companies of Mr Malhotra are and were located in Oslo, Norway. During the course of the investigation the OFT uncovered a number of websites connected to Mr Malhotra; and gathered direct evidence of (i) consumer complaints against the trader; and (ii) non delivery of tickets; and (iii) non refund of monies paid by consumers. The OFT considered that the business practices employed by Mr Malhotra could have breached the following legislation: Sale of Goods Act 1979; the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and; the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002; and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
The OFT launched an investigation following a number complaints being received from consumers concerning the supply of World Cup tickets in 2010 and the supply of London theatre tickets. The majority of the complaints focussed upon the non delivery of tickets by the Trader and thereafter the failure to refund. The main trader Mr Malhotra was at all material times located in Oslo, Norway and around 100 websites appeared to be within his control. The infringing behaviour, in the OFT's views included: (i) failure to display the correct trading address or correct contact information; potentially unfair Terms and Conditions relating to refund; and creating the impression that the websites were affiliated and/or connected to a bona fide supplier of the tickets when in fact they were not.
In response to a number of complaints received from the London theatres and production companies the OFT removed one of the Traders' domain names for breaches of the Consumer Protection Regulations and E-Commerce Regulations.