Third-party site leads to concert ticket nightmare
If you are looking to score tickets to a concert or sporting event on a third-party ticket site, it’s buyer beware.
That was Cathy Keely’s experience when she went online to try and purchase tickets for Adele’s Vancouver show. The North Vancouver resident thought she was online with Ticketmaster, but instead ended up on a third-party ticket seller site, tickets-center.com.
“Somehow I ended up on a website that I believed was Ticketmaster and it wasn’t,” Keely said.
She tried to complete the transaction, but Keely says her address wouldn’t go through. She gave up until she received an email later that day from the same site, tickets-center.com.
“I’m thinking did I somehow reserve these tickets? Awesome, this is great!” Keely said.
The transaction went through, but Keely says she wasn’t given the opportunity to review her purchase and was automatically charged US$9,000 for two Adele tickets. In addition, Keely was billed over her credit card limit. It was also never flagged. When she looked at her credit card statement, Keely was stunned. The cost of her two Adele tickets once converted to Canadian dollars: $13,177.08.
Critics say it’s buyer beware when it comes to third-party ticket sellers. Prices are often inflated. Spencer Chandra Herbert, NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End, has been pushing for legislative change since 2009.
“If the tickets are for sale for a show in British Columbia, we have the ability to say, ‘no, they can only be sold in certain kind of ways.’ We can regulate the businesses. We can step in, in terms of supporting the public,” he said.
Keely’s bank attempted to dispute the transaction on her behalf, but to no success. The bank stated it wasn’t possible because tickets-center.com provided the contracted service agreed upon by emailing a download link for the concert tickets purchased, and the terms and conditions available on their website state that all sales are final.
Global BC’s Consumer Matters contacted the bank and asked why Keely’s account was never flagged and why such a large transaction was allowed to go through on her credit card. Two days later, Keely got a call.
“I got a call from a head fellow at the Bank of Montreal and the dispute department and he said that he realized I had gone to Global and they are revisiting the case and they felt that as a good will gesture they will cover the cost of tickets plus any interest charged to my card,” Keely said.
Consumer Matters reached out to tickets-center.com for comment, but no one would return our emails.
Consumer advocates recommend that when buying a ticket on a third-party site, people should know exactly whom they are dealing with. They offer the following tips:
• Make sure the reseller is licenced.
• Check to see if the tickets are priced in Canadian or U.S. dollars.
• Check the ticket seller’s guarantee policy to ensure you have an authentic ticket.
• Carefully read the terms and conditions.
• Try to read reviews.
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