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The OFT today launched its 'Just Tick It' campaign warning consumers about fraudulent ticket websites.
Supported by a host of musical and sporting celebrities, the OFT campaign coincides with new research which reveals that 20 per cent of people know someone who has been scammed by bogus ticket sites.
Music and sports stars including Kate Nash, Dave Rowntree from Blur, Fightstar, and England rugby captain Steve Borthwick are backing the campaign to help raise awareness of the issue and to help protect their fans.
According to an online survey of 3,000 UK consumers:
When asked the top three reasons for using scam websites, respondents said they were desperate to get hold of tickets for an event (44 per cent), others were taken in by the excitement of finding tickets they wanted online (40 per cent), whilst others were tricked by the legitimate and professional appearance of the websites (32 per cent).
Men are twice as likely to be tricked by such scams as women. And when it comes to reporting the scam, it appears people too often shy away from the problem with one in five admitting (20 per cent) they didn't report it.
Music and sporting stars are supporting the OFT campaign as they are tired of seeing their fans ripped off.
Platinum selling artist Kate Nash said:
'I remember last year a friend of mine bought a ticket for a festival. He's a student and the tickets were around £200. He was so excited; he had been planning the whole trip for ages but two days before the festival the tickets still hadn't arrived. He was so disappointed that he couldn't go. He lost his money and his friends who had bought legitimate tickets went without him.
'I think it's disgusting, scamming people who want to go to gigs and have a good time. They just get ripped off and disappointed, turning something positive into something negative. People should check that the website selling the tickets is legitimate before they buy their tickets.'
Rugby star Steve Borthwick, whose Saracens side faces Northampton Saints at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, pledged his support to the campaign.
Steve Borthwick said:
'As interest in rugby continues to grow with matches being held at top-flight venues like our Wembley fixture against Northampton Saints on Saturday, sadly we are seeing more fans scammed with buying tickets online that don't appear - leaving people without a ticket and out of pocket.'
'There are easy steps that anyone can take to ensure that they are booking a ticket through a legitimate website, we encourage everyone to double check before buying tickets online.'
The OFT is encouraging event-goers to take simple steps to help ensure they are not scammed when buying tickets online. Tick off these top tips from OFT-managed advice service Consumer Direct to make sure you are buying the real deal:
1. How has the website got the tickets to sell? Check with the venue to find out when tickets are being released for sale and when the tickets will be sent out.
2. Who is the website registered to? And how long has it been registered?
3. What are others saying about the website? Search the internet to find out what other people's experiences have been.
4. How can you contact the company? Check that you know their full geographic address and check they have a working landline phone number.
5. Can they provide ticket details? Ensure that the face value of the tickets and the seat location are clearly listed.
6. Do they provide refunds? Make sure there is a refund policy in case something goes wrong.
Mike Haley from the Office of Fair Trading said:
'The 'Just Tick It' campaign gives ticket buyers the valuable advice they need to help protect themselves from ticket scammers when buying online. Consumers can avoid falling victim in the first place by following our clear and simple advice on how to spot a scam site.'
Event promoter Festival Republic have also pledged their support to the 'Just Tick It' campaign.
For more information about scam ticket websites and how to protect yourself visit: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ticketscams.
1. 3000 people were surveyed online by 72 Point research agency in August 2009.
3. 'Just Tick It' is an awareness campaign run by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). It aims to increase consumer awareness of online ticket scams and provide ticket buyers with helpful and practical advice on how to avoid being scammed. For more information visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ticketscams.
4. Consumer Direct is the OFT managed advice service offering information and advice on consumer issues. Consumer Direct is funded by the OFT and delivered in partnership with local authority Trading Standards Services. For information or advice contact 08454 04 05 06 or see www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
5. The OFT and Serious Organised Crime Agency are leading on the development of a National Strategy for tackling mass marketed fraud, in partnership with a wide range of other enforcement, consumer and industry bodies. This strategy forms part of the Government's wider National Fraud Strategy which was launched in April 2009. A key strand of the Strategy includes developing more effective consumer awareness campaigns to help consumers recognise and resist mass marketed scams.
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