High risk of consumer losses if tickets bought from online scalpers

This announcement is for: 
Consumer

WA consumers are at high risk of losing their money and missing out on concerts and events if they buy their tickets from scalping websites.

That’s the warning from Consumer Protection which is appealing to ticket buyers to only deal with authorised sellers due to a high number of complaints from consumers who have unknowingly bought invalid tickets from online scalpers.

In most cases, consumers did not know they were dealing with an unauthorised seller and didn’t find out that their tickets were invalid until they were refused entry to the event, resulting in either missing out on the event or having to buy replacement tickets at the venue’s box office.

Consumers complain that tickets offered on reseller sites are issued with incorrect names, or are sometimes fake, and that they are charged hidden fees and charges. When the affected consumers attempt to contact one particular website, they have reported experiencing extreme difficulty in getting a reply and, in many cases, not received a refund when requested.

The warning also comes after Cricket Australia cancelled up to three thousand scalped tickets that were being offered on eBay at inflated prices for the third Ashes Test in Perth in December. The tickets will be re-issued and offered to the public at original prices.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said there were concerning figures regarding refusals of entry to some venues in Perth.

“Data made available to us indicates that in a snapshot of 14 events over the last five months at Perth Arena alone, 354 patrons presented with invalid tickets purchased from ticket resellers,” Mr Hillyard said.

“In 245 of these cases tickets had been purchased from Viagogo, with 98 purchased from Ticketmaster Resale and 11 from other lower profile sites. During the Hopman Cup in January this year, 143 people were turned away with 129 of them buying their tickets through Viagogo.

“So far this year Consumer Protection has received 45 complaints in relation to Viagogo ticket sales, compared to only nine for the whole of last year.”

WA is working with other state consumer agencies as well as the ACCC in looking at consumer issues in the ticket reselling market in Australia.

“We have been negotiating with Geneva-based Viagogo to ensure that they understand that Australian consumers have legal rights and to ensure that they respond in a timely manner to consumers as well as Australian Consumer Law regulators like Consumer Protection. These negotiations are slow but progressing,” Mr Hillyard added.

“We are advised that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is in the final stages of its investigation into Viagogo, including its approach to additional fees and charges, and is expected to make a further announcement shortly.” said Mr Hillyard.

“The only safe way to get a ticket to an event is to buy direct from the authorised primary seller and you will likely do your dough if you deal with online scalpers.”

Useful tips for buying tickets online from Live Performance website:

  • When you want to go to an event, find out who the ‘authorised’ ticket seller is, the chosen venue and when tickets go on sale officially. Tickets offered for sale before the official date or by an unauthorised seller may be fake.
  • Make sure the ticket seller who has come up first in your online search result is actually the authorised ticket seller and not a reseller who has paid to be at the top of the list.
  • Create an online account with the authorised ticket seller and make sure you’re logged in and ready when tickets go on sale.
  • Usually terms and conditions state that resold tickets can be cancelled by the promoter or authorised seller and refused at the door when you attend.
  • If you buy from a ticket reseller, your rights to money back or exchange may be affected if the show is postponed or cancelled because the refund goes to the original purchaser.
  • Paying by credit card or Paypal provides more protection if something goes wrong with your purchase. Don’t transfer money directly into the reseller’s bank account.

WA consumers who have experienced issues when purchasing tickets from a reseller and have not yet lodged a complaint are urged to do so online via the Consumer Protection website: www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection. Enquiries can be made by email at consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54. A video with information on buying tickets online can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcZEVwIfYHc&feature=youtu.be.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
26 Aug 2017

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