Event ticket scams happen when tickets to an event are purchased from an individual or through a third party ticket resale website. The buyer later finds out they have been charged hidden fees, the tickets aren’t legitimate or they don’t receive the tickets.
Avoiding event ticket scams
When buying tickets, check if the official ticketing agent has any for sale. The official ticketing agent is usually named on the promotional materials for the event and can also be found by visiting the website of the event venue. If you’re searching for the website of the official ticketing agent, make sure you visit the official website. Sometimes search results show paid adverts for a different website, so make sure you’re on the official website.
If tickets are sold out you can buy tickets that are being on-sold. Some official ticketing agents have resale marketplace websites that allow people to purchase tickets from others. The tickets are being sold by individuals, and the prices are set by the seller – not the website. On these types of websites (such as Ticketmaster Resale), you don’t need to rely on the individual to send you the tickets – the change over is managed by the website.
You could also purchase tickets through a website that is not linked to the official ticketing agent, but allows individuals to sell through it. When doing this, there are some potential risks to be aware of.
- the ticket you purchase could be fake
- you might never receive the ticket
- the ticket might not have the features you thought you were purchasing
- there may be restrictions on-selling the tickets
How to minimise risk
- Visit the official ticketing agent’s website to ensure that there are no restrictions on the on-sale of tickets
- If you’re using a trading site, check the seller feedback if possible
- Use platforms and payment options that offer protection for buyers if a sale goes wrong
- Don’t pay outside of the platform you’re using
Buying through social media
There are risks when buying tickets from individuals through other platforms such as social media. We have had reports where the ticket was legitimate but the “seller” still attended the concert using the ticket – so when the person who purchased the ticket on social media turned up to the event, they were turned away as someone had already used the ticket. There is no risk-free way to purchase tickets from other people on social media, but you can try to minimise the risk by contacting the official ticketing agent to confirm that the ticket is legitimate and that the tickets are able to be resold.
When a resale goes wrong
If after you’ve purchased tickets you discover an issue, try to resolve it with the website you used. You can make a complaint to the Commerce Commission if you think you’ve been misled by a resale website and that their advertising, or if the cost you were charged wasn’t the same price you were quoted before confirming the purchase.
You can apply to your bank for a chargeback if you’re concerned that the order you have paid for isn’t valid and you paid by credit card. Most banks have a 60-day limit from the time of purchase for you to lodge a chargeback request, and not all chargeback requests are successful. You can read more about chargebacks here.
Report a scam
Help if you have or about to be scammed: Netsafe can’t open investigations or track scammers, but we can offer support and advice for people who have lost money or information in a scam, or think they are about to. This includes letting you know the steps you can take depending on the scam you’re in and giving you advice about how to stay safe in future.
Reporting scams trends: To help identify scam patterns and trends in NZ, you can make a note of suspicious calls, emails or texts you receive and report this information to Netsafe, at www.netsafe.org.nz/report. We use this information to track scam trends for public education, scam advisories and to give to other agencies working to protect Kiwis against scams in New Zealand. We do not have the authority to open investigations or track scammers.
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