COMMENT: Small victory in a business full of pitfalls for customers

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Once upon a time, buying tickets for a football match, concert, or any other kind of a event was a simple transaction.

You turned up at the venue and queued for your chance, or else phoned up and hung on the line waiting for an answer.

Of course, the internet long ago changed all that.

Nowadays buying tickets for anything is a stressful business, involving logging into websites at a given time, remembering various passwords, and hoping you will be lucky.

By the time you get to the front of the virtual queue you may find the tickets you wanted are no longer available.

Fraudster John Bayne saw an opportunity here, and began a scam offering tickets he did not have to people who were eager to see Premier League football matches.

He has rightly been jailed and told that, as a former sailor, he has brought the Royal Navy into disrepute.

All well and good – justice is seen to be done.

And this is not a victimless crime. People invest a lot of anticipation and emotional energy into buying tickets for something they want to see. The disappointment of being duped is palpable and unjust.

But people like John Bayne are small fry in a marketplace worth billions of pounds.

Anybody who has failed to get the tickets they wanted through legitimate means will often see them advertised, at vastly inflated prices, online.

Some may be tempted to buy them – and someone, somewhere makes a lot of money.

Many artists have taken their own measures to beat touts and fraud — but these often target the hapless customer.

It is high time the government looked into the whole issue of online ticket sales and did more to protect consumers.