Online ticket scams
3 June 2010, 06:00
A woman from Milton Keynes is helping warn people about websites selling fake concert and events tickets.
Vanessa Cook - who's from Kents Hill - lost more than £120 when she thought she was buying tickets to see comedian Peter Kay.
Mrs Cook made the payment online in November, for the show in May, but became worried when she didn't hear anything from the company she'd booked through. When she tried to phone them there was no answer and the website had stopped working.
After searching online further Mrs Cook found comments from other customers who had also paid money to the company and had never received their tickets.
Mrs Cook told Heart the website looked genuine:
"It was very professionally done. It looked absolutely legitimate. I'd searched for tickets and it wasn't the first one that came up - I looked at 2 or 3. It looked fine and when it took me through to the payment everything was absolutely spot on and I got the confirmation e mail straight back."
She now knows that the only tell-tale sign that things weren't right is that there was no registered company number on the website.
Mrs Cook has also learnt that checking the total amount she had been charged on her bank statement could have helped uncover the scam earlier:
"When you're quite excited about buying tickets to something and you're really looking forward to it, you just kind of buy them and pay for them. And what you're really looking for when your statement comes is to make sure the money's gone out - you're not really checking to the penny the amount [you've paid]. Because the thing that was then pointed out to us was the amounts didn't match exactly because there was a currency conversion involved."
Mrs Cook's warning comes at the start of a campaign to try and stop other people in Milton Keynes falling victim to similar scam sites.
It's being run by the Office of Fair Trading to coincide with summer concerts - like the ones coming up at the MK Bowl.
The Just Tick It campaign urges concert-goers to follow this checklist before paying any money:
- How has the website got the tickets to sell? Check with the festival to find out when tickets are being released for sale and when the tickets will be sent out
- What are others saying about the website? Search the internet to find out what other people’s experiences have been
- How can you contact the company? Check that you know their full geographic address and check they have a working landline phone number
- Can they provide ticket details? Ensure that the face value of the tickets and the seat location/festival area are clearly listed
- Do they provide refunds? Make sure there is a refund policy in case something goes wrong
For more information about scam ticket websites and how to protect yourself visit: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ticketscams
Mrs Cook added:
“We are obviously disappointed that we did not get to see the show and are £123 out of pocket. What I tell people now is to check everything; don’t assume that because a website looks ok it will be ok, dig further. From now on I will stick with the big boys if I want to buy tickets.’