Fans who've bought Ed Sheeran tickets on reselling sites such as Viagogo have been warned they won't be able to get into the concerts. But if you've paid for a ticket you can't use, the singer's promoter has now released a downloadable letter which might help you get your money back – here's what to try.
Before tickets for his 2018 tour went on sale, Sheeran announced that Twickets was the only site permitted to resell his tickets, and that tickets resold via any other would be "invalid".
Fans have been warned they'll need to take their tickets and booking confirmation to the concert, plus the card (or photocopy of it) which was used to buy the tickets and valid photo ID matching the name on the booking.
As part of the crackdown, up to 10,000 tickets which Sheeran's team say have been bought by suspected touts making "many multiple purchases" have been cancelled before they were resold. But hundreds of fans are thought to have bought tickets via secondary sites which they're unlikely to be able to use.
Now the star's team has drafted a letter for fans, which it says provides evidence their tickets are invalid so they can hopefully claim their cash back. See our Consumer Rights and How to Complain guides for more help.
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How do I know if my ticket's valid?
Ed Sheeran's official website warns "your ticket is not valid if resold unless it's through our official face-value resale partner Twickets".
So if you bought your ticket from an official ticket-selling site when it was first put on sale (see full list here), or via Twickets, it'll be valid. (If you bought from Twickets you'll receive an email confirmation for the change of ticket ownership which you must bring as verification.)
If you bought from any other secondary ticketing site, there's a risk you could be refused entry – so you need to act now.
Sheeran's site says that if you're denied entry at a concert "we will stamp your invalidated ticket and you can then attempt to claim a refund from the secondary ticket site you used. Please go back to the website concerned and refer to any promises or guarantees made at the time of the purchase."
However, to avoid disappointed fans having to wait until after the concert to get their money back, one of Sheeran's promoters, Kilimanjaro Live, has now released a letter stating that tickets resold by any site other than Twickets will be 'invalid'. You can download the letter here.
How can I get my money back?
If you've bought via a secondary ticket site and want your money back, here's what to try:
- Complain to the ticket reseller and demand a refund. Include a copy of the Kilimanjaro Live letter in your complaint, as evidence that your ticket will be treated as invalid – and make sure you demand a refund of any admin fees you paid as well.
There's no guarantee this will work, but it's worth noting some sites do have T&Cs which make it clear tickets sold via them must be valid. For example, Viagogo says: "Buyers are guaranteed to receive valid tickets in time for the event. If a problem arises, Viagogo will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund."
- Unsatisfactory or delayed response? Try social media. If you're not satisfied with the company's response or don't hear back quickly, it's worth trying to contact the firm via social media.
- Escalate to Trading Standards. If you don't get anywhere with the company, contact Trading Standards via your local Citizens Advice and ask it to investigate.
- Also try to claim from your card company. This isn't a proven route, but is worth a shot – you may be able to claim from your credit or debit card company.
Unfortunately the Financial Ombudsman Service says Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which protects credit card purchases costing between £100 and £30,000, won't apply here. This is because there must be a direct link between the customer and the supplier, and Viagogo is not the supplier.
Yet if you paid on a Visa or Mastercard debit, credit or prepaid card, or an Amex credit or charge card, you may be able to claim under the chargeback scheme, where your bank gets your cash back from the retailer's bank if something goes wrong. This is not a legal requirement, it's a customer service promise, though worth trying.
See our Chargeback guide for full help – and again, include the promoter's letter in your claim as supporting evidence.
If you've been affected and are trying to get a refund, let us know how you get on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fans hit with £100s of unexpected charges from Viagogo
Some Ed Sheeran fans who bought tickets through Viagogo have also complained they've been charged £100s in unexpected fees – a double whammy given the tickets they've been sold are also unlikely to get them into the gig.
MoneySavingExpert.com has been contacted by a number of customers who've told us they ended up paying much more than expected, though it's not clear why this was and whether users missed the final total at some point during the checkout process. Viagogo has not returned multiple calls asking it to comment.
Kerry West, 49, of Herne Bay in Kent, told us she bought tickets from Viagogo to see Sheeran at Wembley Stadium next year, having no idea that resold tickets might be treated as invalid.
She said: "It came up with four tickets for £352, which is four times £88 so about face value plus admin... [The transaction] happened before I had chance to check it was what I wanted... I was charged £1,889.23.
"I was shocked and hysterical, I am really, really careful, but that site has got all sorts of pop-ups. I would never have completed if I'd known I was paying £1,800."
Others have complained via social media, for example:
@viagogo I've been charged over £580 for Ed sheeran tickets, I wasn't aware until after the purchase,thought I was buying for £140— Julie green (@Loisgre20172672) July 8, 2017
What does Viagogo say?
On Thursday Kerry and husband Kevin joined one of Ed Sheeran's tour promoters, Stuart Galbraith, MPs Sharon Hodgson and Nigel Adams and campaigner Claire Turnham as they tried to deliver a letter to VGL, the parent company of Viagogo, regarding complaints about the site.
Claire, who successfully reclaimed her money from Viagogo after a site glitch in January, has been campaigning to help others reclaim their cash as part of the FanFair Alliance campaign group.
No one from Viagogo met the group at its offices on Thursday, and we have been unable to speak to anyone at Viagogo despite repeated attempts to contact them by phone, email and Twitter.
I've been charged more than I expected – how can I get my cash back?
If you were hit by unexpected fees when buying from Viagogo, here's what to try:
- Check your bill and bank or credit card statements. Work out exactly how much more you've been charged than expected.
- If you think you've been wrongly charged, gather as much evidence as possible. This should include statements, bills and any screen grabs you may have taken. If it was for Ed Sheeran, it's worth including a copy of the promoter's letter as supporting evidence.
- Send your complaint and evidence to the company. You can email Viagogo at email@example.com or go via its customer support page.
- If you're not satisfied with the company's response or don't hear back quickly... You could also try contacting the company on social media. And you can report your case to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice.
- Also speak to your card company. As above, you may be able to submit a chargeback request – see our Chargeback guide for full details.
What's the law around ticket reselling?
The Consumer Rights Act has a whole chapter on ticket reselling and says you must be told:
The particular seat or standing area your ticket is for, including the block of seats and row number
Any restrictions on using the ticket
The face value of the ticket
Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, when buying online, you should also be told the total price of the tickets including tax and additional charges where it can be calculated before the sale. Unfortunately this doesn't mean you have to be told the total price on the initial page – you just have to be shown it before you buy the tickets.
See our Consumer Rights guide for more info.