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Ask Which? – My daughter fell for an eBay ticket scam

Festival crowd

Stuart asked: My daughter recently purchased two tickets for T in the Park festival for £400 from a seller on eBay. She purchased the tickets in April and was told they would be despatched one week before the concert.

The week before the festival she received an envelope – enclosed was a typed letter asking her to confirm once she had received the tickets. However no tickets were enclosed.

She contacted the seller via email who wasn’t very helpful and told her that if she wasn’t happy to contact eBay and follow the complaints procedure. He has also removed the item so feedback cannot be given.

She did contact eBay, but unfortunately you must complain within 45 days of purchase, which was impossible as the item was despatched more than 45 days after purchase. We really don’t know what we can do – can you offer any advice to help gain a solution?

Joanne Lezemore, senior solicitor for Which? Legal Service responds:

I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation – unfortunately this is a common occurrence.

It isn’t clear from your email whether your daughter bought the tickets from a ticket agent or private individual – you do not have the same consumer rights when purchasing items from an individual that you would have when buying from a trader.

However, in this case, regardless, a breach of contract has occurred and your daughter may have to consider bringing legal proceedings for failing to comply with the contract and supply the tickets.

If your daughter paid by credit card directly (to a trader) then she may also be able to claim against her credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

If payment was by debit card the same rights do not apply, but there is a chargeback scheme for some cards that may assist in this type of situation, so she should talk to the card provider to find out.

I hope this helps you; please be aware that the guidance I have given is limited by the information I have and should not be treated as a substitute for taking full legal advice.

Have you been the victim of a ticket scam? Did you manage to get your money back, and are you wiser about how to buy tickets from now on?


There are two simple regulations that would help to stamp out this type of abuse:

1) It should be illegal to sell tickets at an all in cost that is more than face value.

This would put the majority of ticket speculators out of business. More tickets would be available to genuine fans and, whilst it won’t eliminate the problem entirely, legitimate sales channels would be closed to these touts. Anyone prepared to risk their luck would know they would have no comeback against the seller of inflated-price tickets as they are entering into an illegal transaction.

With this measure in place, the only secondary market should be between fans in tickets that could not be used for personal reasons.

2) Promoters should be required to send out tickets within 14 days of receipt of booking.

If, for operational reasons, they are unable to do this (e.g. seating plans not finalised, etc.), they should still be required to send out a voucher for the number of places allocated. This would help to avoid these long scams – pay now, you’ll get your tickets in 3 months – when, in fact, no tickets were purchased by the seller.

Nonna Paula says:
23 January 2012

I have been waiting for a refund for tickets purchased, through a ‘reputable’ eBay seller, in August for a concert date of 21 December 2011, but not received. These were an 18th birthday present for my twin nephews – I had to spend more money on a replacement present. I have sent many emails to the seller via eBay but no reply from either party! I purchased the tickets 4 months in advance (as the general ticketing websites were sold out) & paid for first class recorded delivery and was advised the tickets would be sent by October. During the following months I sent many emails asking for a delivery date, and received a standard reply saying ‘as soon as I get them I will send them to you’. When the due date was close I contacted eBay asking them to investigate – their reply noted that, as the order was over 30 days I was out of time and that they couldn’t do anything. I replied stating that surely they should make an exception with tickets as these are always purchased well in advance. Please could you advise the next step I should take? My brother says that the seller probably sold my tickets nearer the date at twice the price & that this was a scam!
Thank you for any advice you can offer.
Mrs P M Ritchie