Practical Tips for Consumers

An independent review of consumer protection measures in ticketing was published by the UK Government in May 2016. This review took place as  a requirement of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and was conducted by Michael Waterson, an economics professor at Warwick University. His review included the following tips for ticket buyers.

Buying tickets for a major event, such as a concert by a big artist, is often subject to difficulty and frustration. Here is a set of things to bear in mind and do.

Pre-event and before buying a ticket

1. When an event has been announced, check the date when the tickets go onsale.
2. Do some research to see if there is a fan club that provides preferential access to a pre-sale; is there a particular credit card or other membership scheme that enables preferential access? If so, consider subscribing to it.
3. There are 3 types of ticket seller: official ticket sellers chosen by event organisers to sell their tickets; secondary ticket sellers, who look for tickets and sell them on, often for more than the face value; and "fan to fan" sites where individuals can sell on tickets at a price they set. Some people use secondary or fan-to-fan sites because they cannot use a ticket they have bought or because they are trying to make a profit.
4. Set yourself a budget on what you are willing to pay for an event. You should factor in any additional costs such as travel and extra charges for the ticket; for example, booking charges, handling fees, postage etc.
5. You may want to see if there are alternative venues nearer to you to see the artist (for example, if you live in Milton Keynes, it may be quicker and easier and perhaps cheaper for you to go to the Birmingham concert than a London concert).
6. If you find that tickets are sold out, do not panic. Additional dates may become available so keep checking the internet. Later tickets may even be better than those sold earlier and cheaper nearer the day of the event.
7. ** It may also be worth checking one of the major commercial resellers,such as Stubhub, GETMEIN!, Seatwave and Viagogo, because tickets will become cheaper as the date of the event grows nearer, so do not panic buy and exceed your budget by immediately transferring to a different website. Remember that these sites also add on fees towards the end of the transaction. Sometimes though, tickets can even be cheaper there even after adding on the fees.
8. ** Do not neglect the fan to fan secondary sites such as Twickets and Scarlet Mist; nearer the time of the event they may also have tickets available at or near to face value.
9. If possible, pay by a credit or debit card. Paying by card protects you if certain things go wrong (for example, non-delivery of a ticket from a ticket company)
10. Check the type of ticket you are buying; for example, if there is a restricted view or age restrictions (sellers are required to provide this type of information before you buy the ticket).

** Please note that none of the companies mentioned at 7 and 8 are currently members of STAR.

What to look out for and to be aware of:

11. Remember, as you should for making other purchases or dealings, that just because someone is selling on sites such as Gumtree and Facebook, does not mean they are honest. People may not be who they seem on such sites and you will have little protection.
12. If something in the purchase process strikes you as odd, particularly if it involves a site not mentioned above, then do not complete the purchase. You might be falling victim to a scam.
13. If you see tickets being sold when the event has not officially gone on sale, be suspicious; this may be a scam.
14. If the ticket seller is unknown to you, check if it has a website, a landline phone number that works and full postal address. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile number, as it could be difficult to get hold of the seller after you have paid for the ticket.
15. Do try to read the terms and conditions of the ticket where possible. Sellers are required to provide buyers with key information in a clear and comprehensible manner.

 

If things go wrong:

16. By paying with credit card, credit card suppliers are held jointly responsible with suppliers for a breach of contract, e.g. failure to supply a ticket, or if the supplier has failed to fulfil an order because he has ceased trading.
17. If you think you have bought a ticket from a scam website, you should report this to the police though the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk. You may not get your money back, but you can try and prevent the scam site being used by others.
18. You can also contact the Citizens' Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 (www.adviceguide.org.uk/). The helpline offers free information and advice to consumers and passes on complaints to Trading Standards where appropriate.


The above advice is taken from Professor Michael Waterson's independent report into consumer protection measures concerning online secondary ticketing facilities, published by the Government in May 2016.


Remember, we can help you if there is a problem with your purchase but only if you have bought your tickets from a STAR Member. Just click here to find out How to make a complaint.

If you have not bought from a STAR Member and would like to report a possible fraud then the best place to do this is at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk

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