Customers of ticket reselling site Viagogo have been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after they weren't informed of the total price of their booking – which included additional fees of up to £300 – until after they'd been billed. The website has admitted it suffered an online glitch and will refund those affected.
MoneySavingExpert.com has been contacted by a number of anxious Viagogo customers who have told us they'd bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran on the site, but later received hugely inflated bills – one worried customer was unable to pay her rent after £1,421 was charged to her account for a transaction she expected to pay £263 for.
Viagogo has admitted there was a "hiccup on the website" and said it will refund all affected customers.
However, it's possible the glitch may have affected tickets bought for other events (not just the Ed Sheeran concert) – so it's important you check you've been billed what you expected to pay.
Make sure you're clued up on your Consumer Rights by checking our guide.
The issue relates to Viagogo customers who thought they were paying a certain price for tickets, only to discover after being billed that the cost was much more than stated on the site.
Viagogo claims this was caused by a glitch on its site, although it's refusing to provide full details of what exactly this glitch was. It says the issue has now been resolved.
'I was left in a very vulnerable position'
We've heard from various Viagogo customers who saw £100s leave their account after it inadvertently inflated bookings.
Claire Turnham got in touch to say she'd been expecting to pay £263 for four tickets to see Ed Sheeran in Dublin for her son's birthday after finding them on Viagogo on 31 January.
She says: "I hadn't even heard of secondary selling sites. This week has been a steep learning curve. I was excited to see they had tickets but they were selling really fast. The website flashed up I was next in the queue and it was all a bit of a panic time-wise.
"I pushed the button for four and saw they were the 'last four tickets left'. All I saw was £263. I did a quick mental calculation. I knew the tickets were going to be sold between £50 and £75 so thought this seemed OK to pay.
"It all happened very fast but I never saw any other costs until after I paid when it flashed up £1,421. I was totally shocked by the pricing and the huge fees."
Claire, 49, from Oxford, was astonished to discover that the true cost of her booking had been worked out at £263 for EACH ticket and and a whopping £299 booking fee on top.
She adds: "It has been such a hard few days, I am a self-employed single parent. I live frugally and was only able to buy the tickets because I found out on 21 January I was getting a £265 tax refund. My rent was due on 1 February and I couldn't pay it. I was left in a very vulnerable position."
Meanwhile, others have contacted us via social media to highlight similar concerns with Viagogo bookings:
refund please miss sold no final payment no seat numbers refund pic.twitter.com/fQewY3zFXr— . (@gazzavicd1976) February 3, 2017
How can I get my money back?
If you've bought Viagogo tickets and believe you were not told the full price before buying, here's what to do:
Check your bill and bank or credit card statements to see what you've been charged.
If you think you've been wrongly charged, gather as much evidence as possible, including your statements, bills and any screen-grabs you may have taken.
Send your complaint and evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org and remind it that it's refunded another customer.
- If you're not satisfied with Viagogo's response or don't hear back quickly, you could also try contacting the company on Twitter.
- If you're still not getting anywhere you should report your case to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice.
If you're struggling to claim a refund from the company itself and you paid by credit card you could contact your card provider for help if each ticket was more than £100. See our Section 75 guide for more.
If you paid via debit card, your card provider may also be able to help. See our Chargeback guide for full details.
What does Viagogo say?
A spokesperson says: "We have been made aware of a brief hiccup on the website which affected a small number of orders. This has since been resolved. Please be assured that anyone affected, including this customer, will be refunded in full.
"Safe to say that the issue has now been sorted and our team is currently reviewing purchases made in the last few days to see if anyone else was affected.
"Claire Turnham has been contacted, a full refund has been processed, and we have also sent her a compensatory voucher to apologise for the inconvenience."
Viagogo has refused to say how many customers were affected or how long the glitch was on the site for.
When we checked Viagogo yesterday it was showing the price per ticket on the initial ticket-selling page, eg, £145 to see Ed Sheeran in Manchester, as well as the full cost on the next page where you enter your details, including VAT, booking fees and delivery, bringing the total to £204.
We were also informed that 127,623 other people were viewing this event, that 'tickets are selling fast', that there were '417 tickets left for this event' and that there were 'less than 2% of tickets left for this event'.
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 they 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.
We found instances on Viagago's site where we were not shown the seat number, and were only told a range of the face value cost, eg, £45 to £75.
We have challenged the company on this. In response, a Viagogo spokesperson says: "We ask sellers to be as detailed as they can when advertising their tickets, but this is not always possible, as they may not have received specific information from their point of purchase.
"Specific seating details will be printed on the tickets, so customers will have this information upon receipt of the tickets themselves. We always ensure that the face value range is clearly advertised in the 'general notes' box on every event listing page.
"As a buyer, you can choose which seating location, and ticket listing price, is best for you. If for any reason a customer doesn't feel they have enough information about the seat location to be able to make a purchase, then they won't purchase.
"However, our data tells us that it's very rare that a customer won't feel they have enough information about face value ranges or block and row seating information that they then decide they don't want to buy from the platform."
We will be investigating this further and will report any breaches of the Consumer Rights Act.