Wednesday 20 August 2008

ticket to ride....

It looks as though hundreds of fans hoping to attend festivals this year have been ripped off by their ticket agency. They'd bought their tickets from SOS Master Tickets and the tickets never turned up. Some poor sods were even advised to travel to the V Festival last weekend to pick up their tickets at the door from one of their agents who would meet them. They travelled, but of course, the agents never turned up, switched their mobiles off, took their website down and were never seen or heard from again. It looks as though hundreds more are going to miss out on the Reading & Leeds Festivals this weekend when their tickets fail to turn up.

Oh dear. The thing is though that, whilst I am sympathetic to the plight of these fans to some extent, my sympathy is somewhat limited by the fact that SOS Master Tickets is, and never was, an official ticketing agent for any of these tickets. The tickets that they sold to desperate people and were being sold way over the face value. I'm sorry, but to hand over hundreds of pounds to an unofficial ticketing site and expect the tickets to turn up without a hitch is simply being naive. Even Ebay has a recommendation system that offers you at least some degree of assurance that a trader might be kosher, and even then I think you're better off giving the whole thing a miss. Buying tickets from this kind of website isn't very different to buying penny stock on the recommendation of a spam email or sending money to Nigeria to help liberate a vast sum of money that will, in time, be transferred over to your bank account.

I see that the official ticketing agencies are wasting no time in getting onto their high horses. It's not their fault, of course. The Director of the V Festival said:

"As concert promoters, we urge the public not to get tickets from these secondary ticket outlets, whether that be unofficial ticket outlets or through auction sites, as it could well lead to disappointment."

Yes, but let's not forget that even the official ticket promoters are far from spotless in this affair, after all... they sell tickets on to these secondary ticketing agencies in large quantities, don't they? Besides, the official ticket agencies are the ones who charge their own mark up in the shape of extortionate booking fees and postage PER TICKET that you buy; they're the ones who release the tickets online in a carefully controlled way that means that all of their servers will crash and all the phone lines will be engaged for hours at a time ; they're the ones who will take your credit card details and not send you a confirmation that you've got your tickets for days; they're the ones who will sometimes allocate you tickets, even telling you the seat numbers you've got, before emailing you back a few hours later telling you that there's been a problem... a problem for you, the poor mug customer, that is.

You take your chances when you fork out above face value for a ticket from an unofficial dealer, for sure, but it's not as though the official agencies are really that much better or a great deal more reliable, is it?


  1. 2006 i meant, damn these clumsy paws

  2. No matter how much you might want that ticket, paying money to these rip-off agencies (the unofficial ones) only encourages them to keep scooping up loads of tickets as soon as they become available and then sell them on. If everyone refused to buy from them maybe they'd quit the bulk purchase and there'd be more tickets left for real fans to buy at the original price.

    But as you say, the genuine ticket agencies aren't a great deal better. I ordered my Springsteen tickets months ahead of time, they arrived one day before the gig - and through normal First Class post, not even guaranteed delivery (for which I'd paid £2.95 or whatever). Crooks.