10 April 2015

How to book summer events safely

Summer is on its way and it's high season for sporting events, festivals, parties in the park and other big shindigs across the UK. They're in high demand and tickets are often scarce.

But be aware – the sun also brings out re-sellers who are keen to take advantage of the rush for the hottest tickets in town. While some of them are legitimate, others will be selling on tickets at hugely inflated prices, and you may not be protected when buying from them.

New laws are clamping down on touts

Many MPs and figures from the entertainment industry are against the practice of re-selling tickets at prices far above their face value. They have campaigned for laws to force re-sellers to be more transparent via the ‘Put Fans First’ campaign. Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, published a statement on her website, saying ‘Ticket touts… are ripping off fans by buying up tickets and then reselling them at massively inflated prices. Using special programmes to bulk purchase tickets as soon as they go on sale, ordinary fans don’t stand a chance of getting through to book online.’

In late February 2015, new legislation was introduced under the Consumer Rights Bill , requiring re-sellers to prominently display on their website listings:

  • the re-seller’s name and address
  • what the ticket originally cost
  • the seat number
  • any restrictions imposed by the venue

These rules mean that venues can spot mass re-sellers more easily and clamp down on them if they choose by cancelling the tickets. However, even with these new rules in place, it’s still important to be careful when buying tickets online, and know what to look out for.

Go to the source when buying tickets

The most secure place to get tickets is the original venue. Many of these make some or all of their sales through an agency like Ticketmaster. You'll be sent to official agents like these directly from the venue's website or call centre so you'll be in no doubt your ticket is genuine.

Buy tickets in your own name where possible

Nowadays many tickets are personalised to try and avoid fraud, so buying a ticket with somebody else's name on it is potentially risky. There will be no comeback if the venue's security demands ID and yours doesn't match the name on the ticket.

If the show is cancelled and not rescheduled you will probably (though not always) get a refund. But this will only be for the face value of the ticket. So if you paid a higher price to a ticket tout, you could end up out of pocket.

Get extra protection by buying tickets on StubHub

StubHub, eBay's ticket re-selling platform, has its own buyer protection rules. It guarantees that tickets sold on its site will:

  • arrive on time
  • be valid for entry
  • be the same ones you ordered.

If these conditions aren't met, or the event is cancelled or rescheduled, StubHub promises a refund or a replacement.

You could have even more protection if you use PayPal, as you may be able to request your money back from them as part of their buyer protection programme.

Play it safe when buying via apps

There's an enormous range of ticket-finding apps available on the Google Play™ Store and the App Store. Some of them allow you to make in-app purchases, where money is taken via your mobile phone bill, PayPal account or credit card. Apps are handy for quickly snapping up fast-selling tickets. But to guard against any accidental purchases, especially if other people use your phone, see if you can set a passcode or even temporarily disable in-app purchases on your device.

When downloading a new app, always check the permissions it asks for. Most apps are legitimate and will only request the permissions they need to function properly. But others might ask for control of your contacts, camera, GPS location or other sensitive information. Check carefully to make sure you're comfortable before you tap 'download'.

You should also be more wary when downloading an app that isn't from your mobile provider's own app store. This will help prevent accidentally downloading and using unofficial or even fraudulent apps that mimic legitimate ones in order to access your money or data.

Act fast if your ticket's been lost or stolen

If you've lost your tickets or they've been stolen, contact the venue. They or their ticket agent may be able to replace the tickets if:

  • you can give them the address they were posted to and the card details you paid with
  • the tickets were seated and you've got the seat numbers.

You'll need to give them as much notice as possible so they can try to help, so let them know as soon as you discover the ticket's missing.

App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content of external websites or apps. Reference to any organisations websites or apps is not an endorsement of that website or app or the organisations products or services.

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