/ Travel & Leisure

Olympics tickets warning – don’t be caught out on the road to Rio

Olympic tickets

Which? is warning anyone planning a trip to the Rio Olympics to be aware of suspicious sites selling tickets to the games. Would you know what to look out for?

Following on from our work on ticketing scams for the European Championships last month, we’ve been looking at websites selling Olympics tickets. We’ve uncovered one website in breach of official ticketing restrictions for the games…

Olympics tickets warning

The site in question is Bookriogames2016.com – and it isn’t an authorised ticketing seller listed by the organising committee of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

However, it ranks higher in internet searches than official sites like CoSport – the Rio 2016 authorised ticket seller for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Even though the website states ‘you’re protected with us’, people buying from them risk not being allowed into the event. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games terms and conditions strictly forbid entry if your ticket is purchased from an unauthorised source.

But we actually have a number of other concerns about this website and the risk it could pose to Olympics ticket buyers.

Our concerns are:

  • Tickets sold in breach of terms and conditions – this site also allows customers to buy as many as 20 tickets, even though official rules only allow 4 tickets per customer.
  • Vague contact details – the site lists no office address. We found it’s hosted in India but its actual address is hidden.
  • Unsubstantiated review claims – we can’t find any evidence of online reviews, although the site claims to have five stars.
  • Consumer-unfriendly terms and conditions – the site ‘reserves the right to deliver tickets at any point between the time of purchase and the day of the event’ meaning some fans may have to travel to Rio before receiving their ticket.
  • Imitation website design – the site design, graphics and fonts are very similar to that of the official Rio Olympics ticket site which may be an attempt to confuse consumers into thinking that it is the official site.
  • Dodgy domain – the site is registered using a domain service which has been linked to several scams.

Bookriogames2016.com uncontactable

We tried contacting Bookriogames2016.com using the email address and phone number listed on their website to discuss our concerns. We’ve had no reply and the telephone number has since been removed from the website.

We’ve reported our findings to Action Fraud, but more must be done both in the UK and internationally to ensure ticket restrictions are made clear to consumers.

Action Fraud is also warning against potential scams linked to the games. With over a week to go until the opening ceremony they’ve already received reports of fraud relating to the Rio Olympics with victims losing a total of nearly £300,000, mainly due to ticketing and lottery scams.

Our advice is simple. If you’re planning to buy a ticket for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, make sure you buy from one of the authorised ticket sellers listed on the Rio 2016 Olympics website, otherwise you risk being turned away at the gates.

But is it that easy, would you know how to spot an unauthorised site or would you be tempted to run the risk?


Isn’t it about time people were made to take a test before they can start using the internet (for their own safety) . The website in question has registered behind an anonymous providing service. Why would any legit company do that?

Yes William. And there are many areas where people need to learn how to do things. Many will make the effort. Many require initial guidance. Some are not able and need others to help. And some just won’t make the effort but will complain. It is a life of learning by application and experience; I don’t see why we expect someone to continually protect us from ourselves.

I presume this is part of Which?’s educational remit? It’s doubtless a dodgy site – so many are – so presumably Which? can complain to the relevant authorities and have it taken down. But I admit I’m also a little curious.

If I’ve been following things correctly, the Olympic Games for 2016 start sometime next week, to be precise eight days, eight hours and a few minutes away. Anyone sufficiently motivated to attend the games will – surely – by now have booked their ‘plane tickets (and they’ll get seats inside the ‘plane since no Irish low cost airline is doing the trip), their accommodation and, I would have thought, any tickets they wanted. So this advice is a little late if its intention is to protect the Darwin award competitors. And since it’s simply another of many scams (presumably), which have been debated to death in here, I’m a little unsure as to what the purpose of this topic actually is.

Quite, Ian.
The intro says ” but more must be done both in the UK and internationally to ensure ticket restrictions are made clear to consumers.” Such as? Any suggestions?

This being the South American winter the temperature is not too high in Rio right now compared with Norfolk so I was thinking of getting some tickets and enjoying some fun and Olympic games. This Conversation has put me right off. With a clutch of dodgy tickets I thought I could work the streets and have a good time, but what if they didn’t turn up in time? I am devastated . . . but grateful for the warning. The Copacabana is not a patch on Cromer Beach anyway, and it doesn’t have a pier.

Ruby says:
4 March 2020

I have ordered some fatsoma tickets for why notts in April the fatsoma app has logged me out and when I logged back in my tickets had gone

We had tickets for William Shatner at the Eventim Apollo in London this evening. Following the government’s Coronoavirus advice about not attending events, we declined to attend due to health concerns. The event went ahead, regardless. We’d like a refund. What are our rights?

Hey Marc,

Unfortunately it looks like the chances of getting your money back aren’t great if the event still went ahead.

From Which?’s consumer rights page on cancelled or postponed events:

If you decide against going to something like a music event or sports match because you’re worried about coronavirus, but the event is still going ahead, there’s little chance of getting your money back.
The only possible exception is if you have some form of insurance with your ticket. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has told Which? that insurance isn’t designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’.
But if you are ill, or in a particularly at risk group, you may be able to make a claim.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/coronavirus-outbreak-cancelled-or-postponed-events-can-i-get-my-money-back/#attend – Which?

I note in the Covid19 info about tickets and here, it says that under the code of practice, Vendors will refund the face value of the ticket. How is it fair or legal that if an event is cancelled, I end up not receiving a full refund.

If i choose not to accept a rescheduled date, that is different, but if the event is cancelled why should I be out of pocket.

Doesn’t this give event organisers and ticket sellers an incentive to keep ticket prices down and fees high.

Also, what is to stop a ticket seller organising a fake event only to cancel it to keep all the transaction fees?

We have tickets for Jeff beck in Sheffield on 2323rd May but are being shielded from the coronavirus due to health problems but can’t get a refund from Ticketmaster

David James says:
9 April 2020

ATG are refusing my claims for a cash refund for four tickets for the Riverdance, which was cancelled. I am awaiting a response to my final email threatening legal action, but this really is disgusting treatment. I for one will be voting with my feet and never setting another foot in an ATG theatre. Theatres are forgetting that loyalty goes both ways and there will be many people who won’t forget how badly they’ve been treated by certain companies over the last few weeks and months. Yes, theatres are suffering. But guess what, so are we all.

Julia says:
13 April 2020

I’m in the same boat , bought tickets for The King and I , it was cancelled the day before we should have been going .
I paid extra for insurance and guess what it doesn’t cover coronavirus.
£128.15 is not a cheap afternoon out for two.
So upset this was a treat for mothers day for my mum .

Isle of Wight Festival cancelled and the following companies are not refunding!
Big Green Coach company and Ticketmaster are among various companies that are not refunding..
They have recently changed their terms and conditions to state no refunds will be made if:
The government lockdown due to a contagious disease…
The terms and conditions did not state this when I purchased my tickets.
I have been offered a credit note or use for next yr..
I am unable to make next yrs festival .
Should I be entitled to a refund.

David, Julia, and Kris – I believe you are entitled to refunds if an organisation selling you tickets cannot deliver the event. I do not see how they can justify refusal and they could just be trying it on knowing that the law is against them but hoping few ticket-holders will claim refunds. Some terms and conditions might have exclusion clauses but these need to be examined to make sure they are not unfair and therefore void.

It has been seen in the travel trade, and it is now becoming noticeable in the entertainment industry, that there is a cavalier attitude towards leisure events because they have been officially classified as non-essential, even leisure travel being strictly forbidden. The view is that, because they are discretionary expenditures, and because once you have experienced it you have little to show for it, it does not matter whether you get your money back or not. Since most events are not fully sold out, giving rebooking vouchers costs the organisers nothing and there is a fair chance many of the vouchers will not be redeemed.

There must be cost savings in not putting on a show so the promoters should not be able to keep all the sales income. There will be losses on set-up costs for something like a music festival cancelled at short notice, and profits from the sale of peripherals and merchandise will be lost, but these are commercial risks and the goods remain for sale another day.

The entertainment industry has generally been very profitable over recent good times, concerts and shows particularly, so have the companies that run them not put some money away to help out in difficult times and support their artistes’ loyal fans, or those who wish to take their mum out for a treat?

I certainly recommend people who have been denied a refund to make a formal claim and eventually take legal action to recover their outlay and costs.

Booked for queen this year but obviously they have rescheduled for same time next year. I want a refund but Ticketmaster says I have to resell them . I just want my money back. Its crazy

I booked to see Magic Mike live at London Hippodrome through See tickets on 8th May. The show was obviously cancelled but See have only refunded £180 out of £240 because of booking fee and charges. Is this acceptable?

Hi Rachel, same thing – bought tickets for Pink Martini concert at the Albert hall through the primary seller Ticketline the on 21 May but Ticketline only refunded the face value keeping “booking fee” money back. I asked for a full refund, but they refused. So I’ve contacted my bank (as I paid using a credit card) to see if I can get full refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Maybe Which? editors can comment on this or do a feature as I’m sure there are lots of people in the same situation. It’s just so disgusting how ticket agents are using the Covid-19 pandemic to make a profit!

Carly says:
13 May 2020

I have purchased tickets for Disneyland California through 365 tickets. Due to Clovis 19 the Disney parks are shut and I am unable to travel and therefore use these tickets. How do I go about getting a refund when the ticket agent is saying it’s not their problem and will not refund?

14 May 2020


I keep requesting for a full refund from a theme park in the Netherlands but seem to be ignoring it. They have been in touch to say my balance has been converted to a digital voucher which I can use up till summer next year. But as they have said they can’t have me stay (so not my decision) I do have the right for a full refund..? Isn’t that correct?!! I could perhaps go to my credit card company if they still ignore my requests!

Sean Dodd says:
23 May 2020

I bought tickets to see Whitesnake in June, but the concert was cancelled because the lead singer has a hernia. Nothing to do with Covid, Viagogo have agreed to a full refund, but have told me this will take “several months”. Obviously in the current climate with a lack of income, the money is now needed. How can I get money back sooner?

Having purchased F1 tickets via Motorsporttickets.com for a now officially cancelled Grand Prix, they are saying that they will keep the Service & Delivery fee (over £130 and listed as one charge) which I was aware of at the start. I’m not to bothered about a Service fee, but surely the Delivery part should be refunded also as they haven’t actually sent any tickets out yet?

What are people’s thoughts on this?.

Hi James
I was in the same position with my concert tickets booked through a ticket agent but managed to get a full refund including the booking fee&delivery (although their T&C also say the fees are nonrefundable).
First, complain to the ticket agent and say that their normal terms&conditions should not be applicable in this unprecedented situation and keep insisting on the full refund – using the Covid-19 pandemic to make a profit is simply unethical and unacceptable! I would also contact STAR (The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) if your ticket agent is a member of it. Second, if you paid by credit card- contact your bank to make them aware of the problem and make a transaction claim – under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, your credit card company is jointly liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation (there is a Which? feature on this). Hope this helps and good luck.

Many thanks – will definitely escalate as and when required.

Jackie says:
19 June 2020

I have tickets booked for a Green Day concert next week in Glasgow. It has been rescheduled for next June due to Covid but I will not be able to go. have emailed the Ginsberg website several times but I have had no response. Can anyone offer advice on how to get a refund? Thanks

Alison says:
30 June 2020

Ive received a partial refund from ATG tickets but they’ve kept back about a tenner, saying it’s a transaction fee (paid via PayPal), how can I claim the tenner back?