Office of Fair Trading
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OFT warns festival-goers of online ticket scams as new figures reveal scale of problem

More than 5000 fans were scammed when trying to buy tickets for the UK's top music festivals last summer, figures released for the OFT's Just Tick It campaign reveal.

The statistics were provided by the organisers of Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, V-Festival, Download and the Wireless Festival as they joined the campaign warning consumers about online fraudulent ticket sites. The figures are based on complaints last year by festival-goers who had paid for tickets online and not received them, or who bought fake tickets and were subsequently turned away at the gates.

The festival organisers have joined the OFT and a host of music stars including JLS, the lostprophets, Craig David, Kate Nash, Biffy Clyro, Dave Rowntree from Blur, Dan Hipgrave from Toploader, Frank Turner and Nick Mason from Pink Floyd to support the campaign which warns music-lovers about online scams.

Despite many summer festival events having sold out those desperate to see their favourite bands play live often turn to the internet in the hunt for a ticket. OFT research last year found that one in twelve ticket buyers had admitted to having been caught out by a scam ticket website. with victims losing an average of £80.

Speaking about fake ticket scams, Welsh rockers the lostprophets said:

'We have toured all over the world, and on our travels have heard about fans and friends who have lost money by buying tickets from scam ticket websites.

'We're supporting the OFT's Just Tick It campaign to help spread the word about these fake ticket websites - this summer we are playing at both Reading and Leeds Festivals so want to make sure that no one is scammed in this way when trying to come and see us perform. Everyone should make sure that the website selling tickets is legitimate before buying their tickets.'

Michele Shambrook, Operations Manager for the OFT-managed advice service Consumer Direct, said:

'The Just Tick It campaign is here to give fans practical advice on how to check a website is legitimate before buying tickets online. We hope people will use our simple checklist to ensure they don't get scammed when looking for tickets to this summer's music and sporting events.'

The Just Tick It campaign is urging everyone to tick off the following checklist before buying tickets online from a website:

  1. How has the website got the tickets to sell? Check with the festival to find out when tickets are being released for sale and when the tickets will be sent out.
  2. Find out what are others saying about the website. Search the internet to find out what other people's experiences have been.
  3. How can you contact the company behind the website? Check that you know their full geographic address and check they have a working landline phone number.
  4. Can they provide ticket details? Ensure that the face value of the tickets and the seat location/festival area are clearly listed and consistent with the official festival website.
  5. Do they provide refunds? Make sure there is a refund policy in case something goes wrong.

For more information about scam ticket websites and how to protect yourself visit: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ticketscams.

For more information on the campaign please contact the team at 3 Monkeys Communications on JustTickIt@3-monkeys.co.uk or call 020 7009 3100, or Jonathan Marciano at the Office of Fair Trading on Jonathan.Marciano@oft.gsi.gov.uk or call 0207 211 8898.

NOTES

  1. Statistics provided by organisers of Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, V-Festival, Download and the Wireless Festival festivals showed a total number of 5100 fans scammed in this way. This is based on complaints made by festival-goers who had paid for tickets online and not received them, or who were turned away from the gates as tickets were fake. This is likely to be an under-reported number as many people do not go to the organisers themselves to complain about the scam. 
  2. Just Tick It' is an awareness campaign run by the Office of Fair Trading. 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. Just Tick It is supported by a range of music and sporting stars including: the lostprophets, Biffy Clyro, JLS, Kate Nash, Dave Rowntree from Blur, Fightstar, Frank Turner, Nick Mason from Pink Floyd, Howard Jones, Craig David, Dan Hipgrave from Toploader, Freddie Flintoff, Lee Byrne, Ben Foden and Steve Borthwick. 
  3. 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.