This scam will ruin your summer!
If you're planning to book tickets to a concert or festival over the coming weeks, make sure you don't get caught out by this scam...
As summer approaches, more and more of us are likely to start thinking about going to concerts and festivals. But if you are, you need to be very wary of rip-off websites and fraudsters selling fake tickets.
Unfortunately, it can be far too easy to buy tickets for festivals and concerts online, believing you’re buying them from a genuine website. But once you’ve handed over your hard-earned cash, you may find your tickets never show up, or the tickets you do receive are fake.
Even if you’re not buying your tickets online, and decide to purchase them in person, don't think that automatically means you'll avoid being scammed - because there are plenty of fraudsters out there who can still trip you up.
So if you’re planning to buy any tickets over the coming months, here are some top tips to ensure you don’t fall foul of this scam!
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Look for the STAR logo
Before you buy your tickets, it’s worth checking whether the company selling them is a member of STAR – the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers. Members include Ticketmaster, Applause, and Keith Prowse, to name a few. You can find a list of all members here.
If you’re buying your tickets in person, rather than on a website, you should check to see whether the STAR logo has been displayed – usually it will be on the outside of the agency’s office or by the counter.
Buying from a STAR member ensures you have an independent means of redress through a recognised self-regulatory body should anything go wrong. So it really is worth doing this.
Check it out
Just because a website might look genuine, it doesn’t mean it is. So if you’ve found a website selling tickets, before you go ahead with your purchase, check out the website of the event or venue itself to see whether it has information about agents they have authorised to sell tickets. Check to see whether the company you’re planning to buy your tickets from is included in this.
It’s also a good idea to simply run a web search to see if anyone has criticised your chosen company.
Bear in mind that even if the website has a ‘.uk’ address, this doesn’t always mean it’s based in the UK. If you need to find the registrant’s details on any domain name that ends in .uk, you can do so by using the Whois service at Nominet. This displays information about all domain names that are currently registered.
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Check the address
It’s also a good idea to check whether there’s an address on the website. If the address isn’t obvious (perhaps it’s hidden away in the terms and conditions, or it’s missing all together), the website is best avoided. You should also be wary if the address is a P.O. Box.
Similarly, if the only way to contact the company is by email or mobile phone, you should look for tickets elsewhere.
Don’t buy on the street
It might sound obvious, but don’t buy your tickets from anyone selling them on the street or outside a venue. It’s likely that these tickets will be stolen, forged or have been cancelled by the venue. So they will be rejected when you get to the venue door.
You should also be wary if when buying your tickets, you’re asked to pay, sign a receipt, and then come back later to collect them. This may mean the seller doesn’t have any tickets, and will need to get some from somewhere, or that the tickets you’re eventually given are actually for cheaper seats.
If you’re paying online, check the website has a secure way of paying. Check to see whether there’s a padlock symbol on the screen when you go to fill in your payment details. You should also ensure the web address at the top of the page changes to ‘https://’ , as opposed to the usual ‘http’. The ‘s’ signifies it’s secure.
It’s also a good idea to pay by credit card if the amount is over £100. That’s because you’ll be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (1974), which will give you valuable consumer protection if there's a problem with your purchases.
Collecting your tickets
If you're purchasing tickets from a venue box office, your tickets should include the venue name, name and time of the event, seat numbers, price paid, and a booking reference.
If, however, you’re buying your tickets in person from a STAR member or other agency, you will be given an agency voucher rather than the venue’s own tickets. Vouchers are usually printed, although a few agencies will still write out the details by hand. The voucher should highlight the same information as that for a venue ticket, as well as the booking fee. The name and contact details of the agency should also be included, and you should be told about any viewing restrictions.
In some cases, this voucher will allow you to go straight to your seat when you arrive at the event. However, in other cases, you will need to exchange the voucher for a ticket at the venue’s box office.
Finally, if you’re being sent your tickets in the post, it’s worth checking to see whether there’s some indication of when your tickets might be delivered.
Don’t panic if your tickets aren’t sent out until nearer the date of the event. Some companies prefer to do this to reduce the risk of ticket fraud. If you are worried, check the ticket seller’s website - some major ticket sellers frequently update the information on their website help pages to indicate when tickets will be released.
Thanks to STAR for some of this information.