Since the Department of Culture, Media and Sport announced it was going to let the touts self regulate, the amount of scam ticket sites has increased ten fold
Here are some simple tips to help you stop becoming a victim of online tout fraud
1. ALWAYS pay by credit card, never by debit card. If the transaction is over £100 and you don't receive your tickets, you have a right to claim a refund from your credit card issuer under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Debit cards have no such protection. If you pay by debit card and run into trouble you will have the devils own job of getting your money back, if at all
2. Check the website out that you are considering buying tickets from carefully. Look for a UK phone number, a UK registered company name and address, a VAT number. IF a company is legitimate and has nothing to hide it will have most, if not all of these. Why would a legitimate company hide behind accomodation addresses and anonymous domain registries overseas? If the website is giving no address or an accomodation address or P.O. box number, don't touch it with a bargepole
3. Read the websites terms and conditions, if it says its not in anyway affiliated to or an official outlet, steer clear of it. Only buy from authorised sources
4. Go to the website www.who.is and type in the website name in the bar. Hit enter and it will tell you where and who the website name is registered to. Just scroll down to the part where it says "registrant". If its overseas, a PO Box address or anonymous, don't buy from it
Here is an example of a result from a www.who.is search on a scam ticket site
P.O. Box 821650
Vancouver, WA 98682
No company name, no company number, no persons name, no real address, anonymously hosted overseas and hiding behind a PO box number
Exactly the kind of site you should NOT be buying from
5. Check for positive and negative feedback before you buy. SImply type the website name into Google, or any other search engine and search for feedback
6. NEVER buy tickets from eBay or Gumtree. They are so riddled with fake tickets, non existent tickets and cancelled tickets that its become almost impossible to find real ones! Don't be fooled by lots of positive feedback either. Con artists on eBay provide tickets for events in the near future in order to build up positive feedback. What they then do is advertise tickets for shows over three months away and don't provide them The reason is you cannot leave negative feedback on eBay after 90 days and Paypal won't take a complaint after 45 days as people stung by Royalalberthalltickets found to their cost
7. Use your common sense. If an offer looks to good to be true, it almost certainly is
8. Even if a show is sold out initially, keep checking back with the authorised sellers. Almost every show has more tickets released either nearer to the date or on the day of the gig. Don't give up!
There are plenty of other ways to check out websites, I've only listed a few in order to try and keep this simple for those who are not that used to computers, its taken me long enough to get used to one!
If you do end up as a victim of ticket tout fraud, make sure you report it to Police and Trading Standards!
If this post stops one person being ripped off, its been worth it
A big thank you to Medusa, who very kindly allows me to post about ticketing on this, her website
A very hard working, courageous person who really does go the extra mile to protect the public by hosting this site