All so-called secondary ticketing platforms, such as Viagogo, StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave, state they have a cast iron guarantee policy – and that “if a problem arises” for a buyer, then they will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund.
This all sounds good in practice. However, many consumers appear to encountering problems when using at least some of these platforms.
•not receiving tickets
•the ticket received was invalid, or not the ticket the buyer thought they purchased
•buyers feel misled, thinking they were buying from a primary vendor, or by the costs and service fees
•buyers feel they were not provided with full upfront terms and conditions of the ticket, or relevant details about restrictions – including resale restrictions
Compounding these issues, it is often hugely frustrating – and particularly it seems with Viagogo – to locate a customer service representative and make the case for a refund.
FanFair Alliance always recommends that would-be ticket buyers only purchase from an authorised primary company – ie one who has been given an allocation of tickets by the artist or promoter. For more on this, please download our free online guide.
However, if you do have concerns about a ticket you have purchased from an unauthorised secondary site, there are proactive steps you can take.
Claire Turnham started the Victim of Viagogo #VofV Facebook group in February 2017 and has successfully helped fans claim back more than £55,000 from Viagogo. You can hear more about Claire’s story here – and she has helpfully provided the following tips for UK ticket buyers looking for redress with Viagogo in particular.
1. Contact Viagogo directly – raise a complaint & request a full refund.
Tel: 020 31376080
You may not get through to a person, but be prepared to write to them repeatedly by email and send messages through their online help centre.
2. Contact @viagogo over social media
Set up a Twitter account. You may have more luck by making your complaint ‘public’. Ask Viagogo to follow you so you can Direct Message them.
3. Contact your bank or credit card company asap
Make them aware of your experience and the complaint you’ve made.
4. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or criminality
Contact Action Fraud – who will give you an NFRC reference number.
Cancel your credit/debit card – and continue to check for any future unauthorised payments on your account.
Contact your bank/card provider to raise a complaint and & request a chargeback (see below).
1. Contact Citizens Advice
Call your local Citizens Advice to make a complaint. They should raise a case number and send it to you local Trading Standards, the body tasked with enforcing UK consumer law.
Regularly log into your Viagogo account and check for notice of cancellation of tickets and notice of refund. You can also submit further questions here.
Be aware you may receive no response, or an unsatisfactory response. If your order is reviewed and Viagogo say they are unable to offer you a refund. Please be aware that you do not have to accept this situation. Instead, write to them again: restate your claim, and the reasons for your complaint.
3. Do not re-list your ticket!
Do not accept any invitations to “resell” or “relist” your ticket. You will end up paying more fees, and repeat the cycle for someone else. It will also be harder to claim your refund.
4. Keep a record
Keep records of all your correspondence, take screenshots and gather documentary evidence in support of your refund claim.
5. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send us your name, your contact details and an outline of your complaint.
A chargeback is a process which allows for debit and credit card holders to get their money back, if they believe the goods they purchased are damaged, different from those described or didn’t arrive.
They offer no guarantees. A chargeback isn’t a right or law – but it is a way your bank may be able to help you.
For more information, please check out this useful information page from Which?
- Begin the process with your bank or credit card company, and write to Viagogo stating that you are filing a claim for a chargeback. If your complaint is for “unclear pricing” use Reason Code 80.
- You will need to support your chargeback claim with correspondence and evidence so the bank/card provider can see you have already taken reasonable steps to resolve your issue yourself.
- If your bank is unhelpful ask to speak with a supervisor or manager
- If you are unsatisfied with your bank or their chargeback is unsuccessful you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to investigate your case.
1. Know your rights
Read the relevant sections of the Consumer Rights Act, and ask whether you were provided with the full information about your purchase – such as the original face value, details about seat location or any restrictions to the use of the ticket.
2. Increase your knowledge
3. Get active on social media
Stand up and speak out to help others and create wider awareness of the issues. Put your complaint out there on Twitter and Facebook – using the hashtags #VofV & #fairgogo to connect with others.
4. Contact the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)
The CMA is currently investigating suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary ticketing market. Send information about your case to: email@example.com
5. Contact your MP
Find out who your local MP is here and write to them. In the last Parliament, the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee held two evidence sessions about “ticket abuse”. Politicians are becoming more aware that their constituents are falling victim to secondary ticketing.
6. Concerned about the safety of your data?
If you are worried about your data or bank account details, or that they have not been handled securely when buying tickets, then contact the Information Commissioners Office.
7. Contact consumer groups
Which? have run a number of recent campaigns about secondary ticketing, and also recently launched a survey about people’s experiences of using ticket resale sites. You could also contact popular online blogs such as Money Saving Expert.
8. Seek legal advice
You also have the option of taking your case to a small claims court. Also, it is worth checking your household insurance to see whether your policy includes free legal advice, or finding a solicitor who offers a free initial consultation. Before taking this action you are advised writing a Letter Before Action.
9. Leave a message on the FanFair Alliance website here and “Have Your Say”.
And finally…in Claire’s own words.
“I am sorry for your stressful experience. Sadly you are not alone. Many people feel they have been misled and mis-sold tickets when buying from secondary sites – myself included. Before February of this year, I had no idea what a secondary ticketing website was. It has been a steep learning curve. I am glad to now be able to share my knowledge to guide, support and empower you.
“I hope you find these tips useful. Reclaiming your money back may not be a quick or easy process, but please persevere. I cannot promise this advice will guarantee you a refund, but I believe it will give you the best chance possible. Keep going, good luck and please share your successes with us to help others.”