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Buying Tickets Online: Consumer Rights, Cancellations, Refunds and Complaints

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 9 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Buying Tickets Online: Consumer Rights, Cancellations, Refunds And Complaints

Shopping around online for tickets can help you find some of the cheapest ticket prices. When buying tickets online you should always have a clear idea of what you're being sold, the full costs and delivery terms. You should also be sure that you're buying from a bona fide source. This article outlines your basic consumer rights when buying tickets online, as well as your rights regarding cancellations, refunds and what to do when you want to make a complaint.

Before You Purchase

When you have a ticket purchase in mind, it's a good idea to shop around online to find the best price. Always make sure that you thoroughly research and check up for any 'hidden costs' such as handling fees. It is also worth trying to purchase your tickets from a UK-based website or well-known UK online ticket agent. This is so that you can be sure that your statutory rights will cover you when you purchase. Remember that just because a company has 'UK' in the company name, or '.co.uk' in the website domain, this does not necessarily mean that it is UK-based.

If you are in any doubt, you can always try contacting the company directly. The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations and E-Commerce Regulations stipulate that the trader must provide their trading address. You should be wary of websites that do not include a UK telephone number. The regulations also require the seller to provide accurate descriptions of the goods on sale - in this instance this would be interpreted as detailing the seat location and type (for example, stalls, box or standing), and obviously the date and location.

All advertising pertaining to the cost of the tickets should not be misleading, or be likely to mislead the buyer. By law, the ticket sellers are obliged to display certain key points of information regarding your purchase, so that you can review them before the final point of sale. At this point all costs, including handling and delivery charges should be made clear and included in the final price. Seating should be confirmed before you purchase. The face value of the ticket should also be provided, but this can be done either in writing or given orally.If your final costs amount to more than £100, you should also consider purchasing your tickets online with a credit card to help ensure for a safer purchase, and provide you with extra protection should the transaction prove fraudulent or problematic. The way to ensure that you are purchasing over a secure server is to look for 'https://' at the beginning of the website address. Many larger ticket sellers will use well-known payment agents such as WorldPay.

Buying Your Tickets from an Online Auction

If you decide to purchase your tickets through an online auction website, the likelihood is that you are purchasing from a private seller. You should be aware that this would reduce your rights, and ultimately your consumer protection. Online auctions are also liable to rather inflated prices, so from an economical point of view may not always be your best option anyway. From a safety point of view your best bet is to check that you have a geographical full address of the ticket seller. Some auction sites may provide extra protection with regards to fraudulent sales or counterfeit tickets, but these are by no means always comprehensive.

Cancellations

In most cases it is worth checking out the trader's terms and conditions with regards to what happens if the event is cancelled. Traders offering tickets for purchase online are subject to a legal commitment to make a refund, or provide an alternative, if the events promoter or producer has cancelled an indoor event.

If you have bought your tickets online then generally you have no cancellation rights if the seller has upheld their part of the 'contract' (for example, posting the tickets out on time). This means that by law, the seller is not required to give you a full refund if you do decide to cancel.

Complaints

You should be aware that legally, sellers are required to despatch your tickets in good time before the event. If this fails to happen, you should contact the seller directly to seek a refund or compensation. If the seller is not forthcoming, you have a couple of other options. Firstly if you have bought through an online auction site, you can try bringing the problem to the attention of the website owners. The larger auction sites should have a complaints process. You can also contact the Office of Fair Trading to see whether they can take up your case.

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[Add a Comment]
Murdy - Your Question:
I bought 2 tickets to a stand up comedian show on the first day they were released and got the floor seats I wanted. It was a gift for my brothers birthday. Four months later the ticket agency messaged me to say they had a “Technical Diffculty” and had to change my seat. However the seats now being offered are nowhere near the same quality near the back and up the stairs. They have offered a refund but it’s just ruined the whole process and to buy the same tickets on a resell site I would have to pay 5 times the price for each ticket.Where do I stand.Thanks in Advance Ian

Our Response:
They've offered you a refund, so there isn't a great deal you can do except to try and obtain some addtional compensation. We can't really give any more specific legal advice, you might want to try a solicitor to see if this is a realistic option.
OnlineShoppingRights - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:36 PM
I bought 2 tickets to a stand up comedian show on the first day they were released and got the floor seats I wanted. It was a gift for my brothers birthday. Four months later the ticket agency messaged me to say they had a “Technical Diffculty” and had to change my seat. However the seats now being offered are nowhere near the same quality near the back and up the stairs. They have offered a refund but it’s just ruined the whole process and to buy the same tickets on a resell site I would have to pay 5 times the price for each ticket. Where do I stand. Thanks in Advance Ian
Murdy - 9-Oct-17 @ 9:33 AM
Hello. I booked tickets to Cuba from TravelUp agents. Next day after my purchase I saw news that Zika virus has been reported in Cuba and as I am having fertility treatments virus is a big threat to me so I decided to cancel my tickets. The agents refuse to refund my money. Theirterms and conditions say that if I book individual components from them they will make a booking as an agent for the relevant suppliers own terms and conditions. the supplier is AirCanada and their policy allows free cancellation within 24 hours. What shall I do about it? thanks
elinei - 5-Apr-16 @ 1:36 PM
@frankie. The cooling off period does not apply to tickets for events/attractions etc. When booking tickets you should always check the location of the ticket pick up point or whether the voucher is valid in lieu of the ticket etc. 1.5km is walkable, if the distance had been several miles it could have been considered unreasonable. The queue statement would have been made by the company to warn you of potential queue times, sometimes it can be several hours. Consider yourself lucky that you only waited 15 minutes :-)
OnlineShoppingRights - 21-Nov-14 @ 10:17 AM
I purchased 2 tickets to the Louvre plus booking fee with 365 tickets. I printed the voucher and when in Parisrealised the office address to collect the tickets was 3 kms from my hotel and 1.5 kms from the Louvre.I had assumed the ticket office would be at the Louvre. I cancelled the tickets within 7 days of purchase and 1 day before the ticket date. But 365 offer no refund saying the address is on the website. It is on the website but not obvious that the office is nowhere near the Louvre itself and therefore misleading. It was also misleading to state that queues could be up to 4 hours when we got in within 15 minutes. Do I have any right to a refund? Thanks Francesca
Frankie - 19-Nov-14 @ 10:31 AM
We are absolutely disgusted by the fact that no refunds have been made for the Alt Fest 2014. We had three days concert booked as well as a snooze box booked and it is quite a big amount of money!!!!!! Nothing has been refunded yet. I am thinking about entering into a legal procedure.
issie - 22-Sep-14 @ 9:19 AM
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