Ticket scalpers snare unsuspecting Perth victims on resale sites like Viagogo

HUNDREDS of people are being turned away at a time from Perth events because they have fallen victim to authentic-looking scalping websites.

Consumer Protection issued a warning today of the dangers of buying tickets from the “secondary market”, saying they could well be throwing their money down the drain as the chance of getting a refund, or even getting in touch with overseas websites like Viagogo, was nearly impossible.

Data from a snapshot of 14 events over the past five months at Perth Arena shows that at least 354 people had presented with invalid tickets purchased from ticket resellers often at hugely inflated prices and not allowed in to the venue – 245 of them came from Switzerland-based website Viagogo, 98 from Ticketmaster Resale and 11 from other more lower-profile sites.

The Sunday Times understands the true figure of scalping victims could be more than 300 at some individual events.

At the Hopman Cup this January, 143 people were turned away and 129 of those cases related to dodgy Viagogo tickets.

Acting Consumer Protection Commissioner David Hillyard said the number of people falling for this trap was increasing, with 45 complaints received about Viagogo ticket sales so far this year compared to only nine for the whole of 2016.

media_cameraActing Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper.

He said the only safe way to get a ticket to an event was to buy direct from the authorised primary seller.

This warning comes after Cricket Australia cancelled up to 3000 scalped tickets up for sale on eBay at inflated prices for the third Ashes Test in Perth in December. Those tickets will be reissued and sold at original prices.

“Just don’t go to the secondary market; it’s fraught with danger,” Mr Hillyard said, adding people unknowingly bought tickets from these websites because they looked genuine and were at the top of the list when they searched Google for tickets – but only because those websites paid for that privilege.

“It’s just not good enough that these people are operating in an Australian market and not dealing with things under the Australian consumer law.”

Mr Hillyard said while Australian consumer law dealt with local promoters and operators, our laws couldn’t be enforced overseas. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is in the final stages of an investigation into Viagogo.

Booragoon woman Holly Yeomans is one of many Perth people who have unwittingly become a victim to scalping websites.

The furniture wholesaler bought two VIP tickets at $1290 on Viagogo – which she later learnt was double the original price – to the Guns N’Roses concert at Subiaco Oval in February as a farewell gift for a departing staff member.

The night of the concert she received a call from the staff member’s husband saying they could not get into the venue with those tickets.

The pair ended up paying for lesser tickets themselves, but Ms Yeomans still hasn’t been refunded her money despite complaining to Viagogo straight away.

“Basically (these tickets) were bogus … I just wanted to give her a nice gift. I was really gutted for them,” she said.

“The site looked like a normal site, it looked authentic, it had all these concerts on it, so how do you know?”

Ms Yeomans urged people to do their research before buying tickets.

“Just familiarise yourself with Australian resellers. I’ve learnt my lesson but I wasn’t trying to go and get a deal, I was just trying to find a place to get tickets.”

TOP TIPS

  • Find out who the authorised ticket seller is, the chosen venue and when tickets officially go on sale. Tickets offered for sale before the official date or by an authorised seller may be fake.
  • Make sure the ticket seller who comes 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.

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