Six tips to avoid ticketing scams

Published by Cathy Adams on 14 January 2011.
Last updated on 14 January 2011


Have you ever been so desperate to see an artist perform that you'll pay any amount of money to see them? According to research from the Office of Fair Trading, one in 12 of us has been caught out by dodgy ticket sellers, with the average victim losing around £80.

However, help is at hand. Pop magazine, has launched a system that lists available tickets for sell-out events from all the trusted ticket agencies. It also works as a price comparison website, showing the vendor which offers the cheapest prices.

Its dedicated ticket directory lists the gigs most subject to touting, then safe vendors to purchase tickets from. Visit it here:

Paul Hutchinson, founder of Hutchinson Law in Bristol, fell victim to a scam website selling football tickets. "I bought the tickets for a Manchester United game from a website which looked good, had testimonials, registered address and a contact number," he says.

"The option was to either pay £15 or to meet a representative on the day at the ground who would give us the tickets personally. The chap kept in touch by phone all day, saying where he was and where to meet at the ground and that was fine. Obviously he wasn't there, claimed to be delayed, gave us the run around Manchester and then finally stopped answering our calls. I never got my money back and the website has now disappeared."

Edward Parkinson, director of online ticket exchange company viagogo UK offers some advice. He says: "Fraudsters will offer tickets at eye-catching prices to entice people to buy, but a bargain ceases to be a bargain when the tickets don't arrive.

"Never buy from a source that doesn't give clear instructions, terms and conditions, as good resellers are happy to explain what your rights are and what their responsibilities are. Use a secure marketplace like viagogo that guarantees that the buyer gets their tickets and the seller gets paid."

How to protect yourself against ticket scams

Use your common sense

Be aware when the tickets come on sale, and if tickets have sold out. A website guaranteeing tickets to a well-publicised event that has been sold out for months might be too good to be true.

Check with other people

Google the website and check out forums. You can even post a question about its reliability and see what others say.

Contact the vendor directly

If there's an address, phone number or email address, get in contact with them to check they're kosher. If there's no contact details, use domain search tool This will show you the registry address of the website, and should hopefully provide some contact details.

Keep track of your tickets

If you do buy from a website, be sure to double check where the seats are and when the tickets should be dispatched to you. Keep a note of this. Also check their refund policy – can you claim in case anything goes wrong.

Pay on credit card

For purchases over £100, pay on your credit card. Under the Consumer Credit Act, you credit card provider must cover you if the goods you bought fail to appear.

Know what to expect

Watch our Moneywise TV episode 'how to avoid scams' which should alert you to the practice of scams and make you more aware in the future.

What if the event is cancelled?

If the event is cancelled, your tickets will be valid for the rescheduled show – but you will need to hang onto them. Typically, if you can't make the new date, you'll be entitled to a full refund if you've bought tickets through a genuine vendor.

All of the ticket websites listed on such as Ticketmaster, See Tickets and viagogo offer full refunds, although some might not refund the booking or administration fees on top – so check with the individual website. 

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