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Save Money This Summer: Avoid Ticket Scams

Annie 19th Apr 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 8 minutes

The summer is always a riot when it comes to entertainment. From local outdoor festivals to massive events like Glastonbury, there’s a ton of fun to be had in the sunny months. However, tickets can be expensive – and that also makes it easy to get sucked in by ticket scams. Learn how to save money on your summer entertainment tickets without being fooled by ticket scams.

Why Ticket Prices Rocket

Use a Verified Retailer

Consider Cashback Sites to Save

Look for Companion Tickets

Save Money on Concert Tickets

How to Avoid Ticket Scams

Volunteer Instead

Why Ticket Prices Rocket

There was a huge hoo-haa when Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and bands like BlackPink were revealed to use something called ‘dynamic pricing’. This means that the more people that are trying to buy the tickets, the higher the price would rise. While some artists denied allowing this strategy was their choice, using verified ticket retailers that do this (like Ticketmaster) can be seen as implicit agreement to using dynamic pricing in ticket sales.

What this means for you, the customer, is that you might have budgeted around £300 for a pair of concert tickets for your loved one’s special birthday. You sit in the ticket queue waiting for them to be released… and then those tickets now cost £600! And, because live music has die-hard fans, there are many who will take the hit on the higher price because the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them.

There are no rules against dynamic pricing in the UK. And while it is supposed to be a strategy to ‘stop touts and give more back to artists’, what it is actually doing is pushing second-hand ticket sales through the roof at even higher prices. And the people who can afford to buy these tickets to resell? They’re often the ticket touts this strategy is designed to stop.

Use a Verified Retailer

So, how can you make sure you’re not a victim of ticket scams? Well, unfortunately, some venues and some artists will only use a single ticket sales outlet like Ticketmaster. This means you can only officially buy a ticket through them. While it gives you some buyer protection, for example if the concert is cancelled you can claim a refund, it does limit your options.

However, using a verified retailer is much safer than buying tickets second-hand from auction sites or your local Facebook Marketplace. Many tickets are not transferable to others, and need to be sold back to the original ticket seller agency if the buyer can no longer attend. This means that the ticket you’ve bought from Mr. Mysterious down the local pub might not let you inside the venue, and you won’t have any recourse for a refund from him either.

While using a verified retailer means you have to pay the price they set, you do get buyer protections. They also have resale platforms which are official, so if you need to resell your ticket you can do so properly without risking losing your money or getting scammed.

Common Ticket Scams : The Last Minute One

Ticket scams also come in the form of ‘last minute’ sales – someone says they can’t make it at the last minute, but you can meet them at the venue to get the ticket off them if you send them cash to ‘reserve’ it first.

Again, tickets are usually for the buyer only – but even if they aren’t, meeting a stranger to get a ticket isn’t going to end well (and they usually won’t even turn up). If they do turn up, they might demand more cash from you before handing the (dud) ticket over.

Common ticket websites include TicketMaster, LiveNation, See Tickets and StubHub. TicketSwap and ViaGoGo are verified ticket reseller websites. TicketSwap caps resale prices at 20% above face value to avoid ticket scams.

Get Cashback on Tickets

We talk about cashback sites a lot on Moneymagpie – and for good reason! It’s a great way to essentially get a discount on anything you can buy through them. When you’re buying a gig or festival ticket, that could amount to a nice chunk of change back in your pocket, for doing nothing!

All you need to do is sign up to a cashback site and find the ticket sales website through it. So, if you use TopCashBack, you’d log in and search ‘TicketMaster’ or look at the ‘Tickets and Events’ category to find a ticket sales retailer that will give you cashback. Click the link and buy as usual – just remember to select ‘allow all cookies’ when you get to the ticket website, as this means your purchase will be tracked by the cashback site. It needs to do this so it can pay you the right amount of cashback.

Going through a cashback site is another way to avoid tickets scams as you’ll be assured to only visit a verified ticket retailer.

Common Ticket Scams: The Cash Only Offer

If you think you’re on a verified retailer site, but you have to pay by bank transfer or collect with cash in person, STOP!

Paying for your tickets on a credit or debit card gives you consumer protections if something goes wrong – whether that is because you’ve been scammed, or because the concert has been cancelled, or similar. Your bank or card provider has a duty to you under these protection laws to ensure a refund is processed – but if you pay by bank transfer or cash, you don’t get this security.

Look for Companion Tickets

If you have a disability, you could be entitled to a free companion ticket for events. The Cinema Companion Card is a nationally-recognised scheme, for example. Theatre venues will also often offer companion seats, though you need to buy through the venue directly to book.

For stadium events, some ticket sites will have disabled seats with companion seats, but be aware: sometimes, this means an empty space next to a seat, because the assumption is that the disabled person needs space for a wheelchair. While this feels very inclusive, it obviously excludes a lot of disabled people (such as those who require mobility aids but need to sit down for long periods of time). Check in advance with a venue about their disabled seating arrangements, and whether they offer free or discounted companion tickets.

Common Ticket Scams: Scattered Seats

You might think you’ve found an amazing group ticket deal with a huge discount on seats for the theatre or a gig… but when you get the tickets, you realise they’re single seats throughout the venue and you’re not going to be sitting with your friends.

Scammers that do this offer enticing group discounts, often using social media posts that link to what looks like an official website, because single seats at venues are always reduced. So, they buy all the single seats up in a show and sell them to you as a group package. If you want to go with a group that is larger than the maximum ticket allowance on the verified ticket retailer, contact the venue directly to arrange discounts.

Save Money on Concert Tickets

There are a few more ways you can try to save money on buying a ticket for your favourite artist’s world tour or one of the big music festivals this summer.

Sign Up to Mailing Lists

Look for the event mailing list AND the artist mailing lists. Set up a new email address just for these, if you don’t want to get a lot of extra spam. These newsletters will tell you how you can save money with group discounts, give you the chance to win tickets and VIP experiences, and also make sure you’re the first to know when tickets will go on sale.

Check Your Phone Provider

It sounds strange, but some mobile phone providers offer you the chance to save money on concert and festival tickets, as well as entertainment like the theatre, for their customers. O2 Priority is a well-known example, making sure customers get exclusive access to some presales and other offers.

Use Loyalty Scheme Points

Did you know that you could earn loyalty points to spend on your dream festival or concert ticket year-round? Loyalty schemes like Virgin Red allow you to do just that.

American Express customers could do something similar, with exclusive access to specially-reserved seats at all kinds of experiences and entertainment nights.

Getting to and from festivals and concerts also often involves a lot of travel. Make sure you’re using your Tesco Clubcard or your Nectar points to save money on the travel and accommodation for your gig weekend.

Check out LNER Perks App

Even if you don’t use LNER trains to travel, you can still sign up for the LNER perks app. Why would you do that? Because until July 2024, you can get 30% off an annual ATG membership, starting from £35. If you’re a frequent gig or theatre goer, this membership will give you advance access to tickets and special prices, so the annual fee could easily pay for itself within a couple of events.

And if you do use LNER to travel by train, you can also take advantage of the free £5 credit to spend on an LNER journey just by joining the app!

How to Avoid Ticket Scams

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from ticket scams, both saving yourself a lot of money and frustration – and not being disappointed when you get turned away from that concert of a lifetime you’ve been looking forward to.

  1. Use a verified retailer – if you’re not sure where it is safe to buy a ticket, the venue will always have this information, so use their website. You can also check the Secure Tickets from Authorised Retailers website or the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents to see if a website or reseller is on the list.
  2. Don’t use social media – don’t buy tickets from someone online in a forum, local selling group, or even a website that advertises too-good-to-be-true resale prices.
  3. Use your debit or credit card – never pay cash or bank transfer for your ticket.
  4. Check your ticket Ts & Cs – legitimate tickets will have resale or refund instructions
  5. Check the ticket Ts & Cs BEFORE you buy – look at tickets from the ticket retailer to see if they have a resale policy, buyer-specific QR codes, or anything that identifies the ticket buyer as this could mean you are buying a dud ticket (for example, a QR code ticket can be sold to multiple people as a scam, but only one person will be able to get inside the venue with it).
  6. Look for dodgy links before you click – always hover over a website link before you click it and if the URL showing is not the website you want to go to, don’t click!
  7. If an online payment fails, DO NOT pay again – contact the ticket sales website to confirm if your transaction went through. A scam website will not have customer service you can talk to, and could take several ‘failed’ payments from you.

Volunteer Instead

Tickets for any kind of entertainment are expensive, even when you can find ways to save money on them while avoiding ticket scams. However, there is one route to getting into your desired festival: volunteering.

Festival volunteers work a shift (usually 4-6 hours each day) and can be anything from traffic wardens to crowd control. In return for their work, they get free tickets to the festival (usually including camping tickets in a special staff area, too). It does mean you might have to compromise on which acts you get to see, if your shift is scheduled for a particular time, but it’s a good way to see things for free. Festival volunteering is physically demanding, however, so you’ll need to be in top condition to do it!

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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