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Don’t get caught out by fake or void concert tickets

Andy Stevens / 17 March 2015 ( 19 March 2020 )

Read our guide to help you with the dos and don'ts of buying concert and event tickets - and learn how to avoid the scams.

Many people who buy tickets on secondary market websites may find that their tickets are void

It’s always wise to be mindful of the rules governing the purchase of concert and event tickets, via so-called 'secondary market' or 'resale' websites.

These regulations changed a few years ago. But what are those changes? And if you book tickets for events, gigs and shows online, what do you need to know to ensure a safe and successful purchase?

What's more, how can you protect yourself from falling into the trap of inadvertently buying fake tickets from unscrupulous agencies or touts?

What are secondary market and ticket resale websites?

These are websites which snap up large numbers of tickets, often for premium concerts and events which sell out quickly, and resell them via their site - more often than not with a huge mark-up far exceeding the tickets' original face value.

You will often even find that an inflated booking fee has been added, making the cost of buying concert tickets soar even higher.

Read our guide to scams on ebay

What are the pitfalls of secondary market or ticket resale websites?

Many people who buy tickets on secondary market websites may find that their tickets are void. You might not be aware of this until you turn up at the concert venue, only to be told that your ticket is invalid, or your seat has already been taken by another ticket holder.

Why can this happen?

If the ticket has been resold, this often breaks the terms and conditions stated by the venue or promoter.

Most tickets will have the warning 'void if resold', or something similar, written on them somewhere in the small print - so it's always best to check and bear that in mind.

What are the rules regarding the resale of concert tickets?

Major steps have been put in place to help venues and event promoters regain control of how concert and event tickets are sold.

Secondary market and resale ticket websites (and indeed anyone reselling tickets) are required to supply details of the face value cost of the ticket, the seat row and number, plus further information, such as details of any age restrictions.

These rules on resale of tickets apply to what have been broadly described as 'recreational, sporting and cultural' events. If the rules are applied to the letter by venues and promoters, the ethos behind this is to ensure greater transparency and help prevent scams which rip off ticket buyers.

How do the rules help venues and promoters protect concert ticket buyers?

By forcing resellers to state the exact seat number, rather than just the block or row at a venue, promoters should be able to find out straight away who actually bought the ticket - and cancel it if it was bought as part of a bulk purchase of tickets for profit.

How can you ensure you don't end up with fake concert tickets?

The safest of all ways is to buy your tickets in person from the venue whenever possible.

Of course, that's not always feasible. So if you can't go to the venue to pay for and pick up the tickets yourself, then purchase through the venue's own, designated box office online or over the phone, or through a trusted company or well-known ticket agency.

What are your rights if you buy a concert ticket in good faith and it's not accepted at the venue, or if it fails to arrive?

The best way to protect yourself should this happen is always to pay by credit card - specifically for more expensive purchases, which tickets can be. A credit card payment provides joint liability with the card issuer if the cost of a single ticket exceeds £100 and is no more than £30,000. Not even the Rolling Stones would dream of charging that much for a ticket!

Fake tickets checklist: what to consider before buying concert tickets online

* Do you know anyone else who has bought tickets from a particular website? What were their experiences? Read customer comments and feedback. Ask your friends and family.

* If you're in any doubt, get in touch with the venue or concert promoters and find out when and how tickets will be sent to purchasers. This will alert you to any discrepancies or disadvantages of buying tickets through a separate website.

* Make sure your card payment online is secure before you go through any payment process. A padlock symbol on the website's address bar on payment pages, plus a website address starting with 'https' (and not just 'http') denotes that it is secure.

* Find out if refunds are given if a ticket fails to arrive. The website's terms and conditions should clearly state yes or no.

What if someone offers concert tickets for quick sale on social media?

Avoid buying off anyone offering a quick sale of concert or event tickets through social media.

The convenience of what might at first seem like an easy transaction is outweighed by the potential pitfalls.

With the best will in the world, the tickets themselves could be fake or deemed void at the venue, or not sent to you in time (if at all), meaning you have zero protection as a consumer should things go wrong.

Plus, buying tickets via a social media contact could involve handing out your personal details on a social network if you're not careful. So in a word: don't.

Who can help if you think you've been ripped off with fake concert tickets?

If you think you've been scammed with fake tickets, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or visit their website here.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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