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Ticket reselling websites ordered to stop ripping off buyers with misleading prices

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Mar 7, 2018


Ticket reselling websites StubHub, Viagogo, Get Me In and Seatwave have been ordered to stop using misleading pricing with hidden fees.

The Advertising Standards Authority has cracked down on the four major ticket reselling sites.

"We found that the advertisers were not upfront and clear with consumers about additional ticket fees and charges that were added at the end of the booking process," it said today.

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The ASA said the sites did not make the total ticket prices clear from the outset.

They leave out booking and delivery fees when they show the price of tickets.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Many of us will recognise the frustration of being happy with the initial price of tickets on a secondary website only to be stung by hefty fees when we come to book.

"The message from our rulings is simple and it’s clear: the price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end.”

The secondary ticketing sites will now have to include all additional fees at the beginning of the purchase -  before the customers make a decision about whether or not to proceed further.

READ MORE:
Viagogo no no: customer loses £416 on unusable Ed Sheeran tickets
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Viagogo in trouble

Viagogo was caught using false claims about tickets.

It has now been banned from using the phrases “official site” and “100% Guarantee”.

The ASA found Viagogo was using a paid ad on Google in July 2017 which featured the claim “Ed Sheeran Tickets 2017 - Buy Now, viagogo Official Site - viagogo.co.uk”. Further text said “100% Guarantee…Guaranteed Satisfaction”.

The ASA said this was misleading.

"It suggested consumers were guaranteed entry to the relevant venue, when there was in fact a reasonable risk that buyers might not be able to gain entry."

That is exactly what happened to Eloise Wilson who bought Ed Sheeran tickets for £416 from Viagogo, unaware that the tickets would be useless.

Sheeran's concerts do not allow tickets bought on any secondary site other than Twickets - where resold tickets go for face value.

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Making online purchases safer

This move by the ASA is the latest in efforts to improve online ticket reselling.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued new rules to increase transparency in the secondary ticketing market.

Ticket resellers must give buyers ticket details, such as a seat’s location, any restrictions, and the the ticket's original price.

These rules will come into force next month.

 

Ticket resellers say they will change

A StubHub spokeswoman said: "As a consumer-first ticket marketplace, StubHub supports any measures which make ticket buying easier, more convenient and more transparent for fans."

It said it would be "fully compliant" with the ASA decision.

A spokeswoman for Ticketmaster, which owns Seatwave and Get Me In, said: "We will continue to work with both the ASA and the CMA to further develop levels of transparency and consumer protection within the UK ticketing sector."

 

Avoiding getting ripped off

If you are buying tickets online you should try and find the venue's website or the official event website first.

To avoid getting ripped off, make sure you only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.

Paying for your tickets by credit card as this protects your purchase if the tickets dont show up or are not valid.

Avoid using bank transfer, cash or debit cards if you can, as the payment may not be recoverable.

 

What to look out for when buying online

Look for the contact details of the website you’re buying the tickets from.

There should be a landline phone number and a full postal address.

This will also tell you more about the company.

Avoid the site if there is only a PO box address and mobile phone number. Both of these are easy to change and difficult to trace.

Top tip: If in doubt, check it out – search the company's address on Google - the Spanish address on Ticket Selection's webpage does not actually exist when put in Google Maps.

You can also look at the website itself for a few signs.

Make sure the web address starts with https - the ‘s’ stands for secure.

Look for the padlock - the SiteLock Trust Seal to the left of the address bar on your web browser is another sign the website is secure.

IMPORTANT: If a website does have a padlock, it is not a guarantee the site is legit. You still need to check other things.

Check if the website has a security sticker – these are usually at the very bottom of the webpage.

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