Pop star Prince has attacked online ticket touts after postponing the sale of tickets for his forthcoming UK tour.

Tickets for shows in Glasgow, London and Birmingham were due to have gone on sale at 10:00 GMT on Friday. But they were suspended shortly beforehand. The singer then took to Twitter to vent his anger at online resale sites. He linked to a report by consumer body Which?, which said touts operated “on an industrial scale” on sites like Get Me In, Seatwave, Viagogo and StubHub.

After the postponement, he accompanied the link to the Which? report with the words: “Answer therein.” Which? said some sites offered tickets for resale at inflated prices before or at exactly the same as they officially went on sale, displayed “suspicious ticket release patterns” and ignored resale restrictions. Prince also posted a picture of a vulture with the message: “Multiple choice: A. Scavenger B. Vulture C. Tout D. All of the above.” The star then quoted some of his fans. One, Aron Baker, said: “Blame the touts. Or rather resale sites. Esp those that somehow had tix on sale yesterday.” Another named Nightchild Ethereal wrote: “Hitting £5,000 pounds for 2 tickets clearly means there is a significant issue that needs to be dealt with.” And Sven Fransen tweeted: “Buying online concert tickets are the new slot machines... the more you play the more you lose!”

Ticket agents for the shows said the sales had been postponed, but did not provide further details. Fans reacted angrily to the postponement as many had changed their usual morning plans to make sure they had a chance to try for tickets. Victoria Martin tweeted: “I moved my morning around so I could be available to get Prince tickets and I’ve just found out the sale has been postponed?!” Paul Weedon said: “Well, it wouldn’t be a Prince tour if the tickets weren’t a complete shambles, would it?” The Piano & A Microphone tour is due to start at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Friday 27 November.

Prince will then move on to London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 29 November and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on 1 December. In response to the which? Report, Stub Hub international general manager Estanis Martin de Nicolas said the company was “committed to transparency and as a true marketplace we do not own, purchase or price tickets”. Users were not permitted to list or sell tickets that they do not own, he said, and any such listings would be removed. He added: “However, there are many cases where fans will have access to priority tickets in advance of an official on-sale and this is one reason why tickets can be listed so quickly.” Ticketmaster, which owns both Get Me In and Seatwave, said the sites “offer fans full consumer protection, with guarantees of full refund or ticket replacement”. Its statement continued: “We are concerned that Which’s statement and advice risks confusing consumers at a time when we, the industry, are working to educate consumers on how to avoid websites which offer little or no protection.”