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U2 ticket touts purged by eBay as fans lose out

(Sunday Times) -- TOUTS selling U2 concert tickets on the eBay auction website are being chased off the web this weekend after action by lawyers acting for U2.com.

Legal advisers for the band's website contacted eBay after thousands of tickets appeared on the auction site a few hours after a special advance sale for fans.

Almost 3,000 listings for tickets for U2 concerts in America and Britain have been offered on eBay for up to $425 (€325) each, several times their face value. One seller offering two floor tickets to a Boston show for $495 boasts: "I have tickets to U2's entire North American leg of the tour."

Ticket touts succeeded where many genuine fans failed last week, as the first online advance sale by U2 caused widespread disappointment.

After paying $40 (€31) in membership fees for the right to buy tickets before they went on sale to the public, some fan club members found the code they had been given did not allow them to buy tickets — or that they could only buy seats far back from the stage. U2's official website and Billboard.com were bombarded by complaints and some fans are threatening legal action.

This weekend U2.com was working with eBay to remove tickets being sold above face value. The auction site does not allow the sale of concert tickets at more than face value in American states where this is illegal.

One tout had posted up four tickets for an arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with a starting bid of $1,699. Another had two tickets at Madison Square Garden in New York for at least $629.

"U2.com, working with eBay, has already taken down 77 postings and are continuing to work on preventing touts using the system," said a U2 spokesman.

One option may be to withhold the tickets of people who bought through U2.com and who are now auctioning them through eBay, because they have not yet been posted out. It


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