Watch out for ticketing scams this summer warns Highland Council Trading Standards

As major music festivals and concerts and sporting events start to get underway, demand for tickets increases over the summer months.  However those going online to purchase their ticket may become a victim of ticket fraud.

In 2015, more than £5m was lost to consumers across the UK through online ticket fraud, up from £3.35m in 2014.  On average, scam victims who bought fake tickets online lost an estimated £444 per transaction.  The scams are perpetrated through a range of online sources, e.g. selling websites, via social media platforms, “small ads”.

Highland Council Trading Standards is urging music and sports fans to be wary of buying fake or non-existent tickets. Trading Standards Team Leader David MacKenzie said: “Many of the big summer events sell out their tickets, from Belladrum to Glastonbury and Wimbeldon.  Highland consumers wishing to go to such events are strongly advised to buy their tickets through official sources and be very cautious using other websites, agencies or social media sites where there is a greater risk of losing out.”

Highland Council Trading Standards is backing a new nationwide campaign “Be Smart Like Daisy and Buy Your Tickets Safely” to tackle ticket fraud and advise purchasers to be on their guard when buying tickets.  Consumers should consider the following “checklist”:

•    Beware of sellers advertising events as being “Sold Out”.    How did the seller get the tickets and do they really have them for sale? Beware of sellers who want to meet you at the event!   
•    Are there customer reviews? Check online to see what others are saying about the website.
•    Does the company have a UK landline? The website must have a standard rate number for customer service. 
•    Read terms and conditions. Always read the small print, particularly on unfamiliar websites.
•    Is the payment page secure?  When paying on-line make sure that the payment pages are secure. Look for a padlock symbol in the address bar and ‘https’ in the website address.
•    When buying single tickets for £100 or more consider using a credit card.  If anything goes wrong, the card provider has a legal duty to refund the consumer under credit laws.
•    If it sounds too good to be true……….then it probably is.  Ask questions from the seller such as “when will the tickets be dispatched”……”what type of ticket are you buying?”  

 Resale of tickets must be done in line with detailed requirements as David MacKenzie explained: “There can be legitimate ticket resale, such as where someone’s circumstances change and they can’t attend an event for which they have a ticket.  Resales can be carried out through “secondary ticketing facilities”, through a website or mobile app.  However, there are strict rules about what information must be given and consumers should not buy if any of it is not provided.”

The information that must be given to the buyer includes:

•    information to identify the seat or standing area that the ticket is for
•    information about any restriction on use of the ticket (e.g. no under-18s)
•    the price as stated on the ticket (its 'face value')
•    If the seller is connected to the operator of the secondary ticketing facility, a connected business or the organiser of the event this must be made clear.

The UK Government has just published an independent review of the event ticketing market.  It provides a detailed examination of all the issues and has a useful section on “Practical tips for Consumers”, see: http://tinyurl.com/tipsbuyingtickets  
Consumers seeking further advice on how to buy tickets safely or wishing to report a problem with ticket sales can do so by contacting Trading Standards’s partner body the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on telephone 03454 040506 or online at https://ssl.datamotion.com/form.aspx?co=3438&frm=citacomplainform&to=flare.fromforms 

 
 

31 May 2016
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