Ian Smith from Shelly Beach has warned against purchasing tickets for live events on Viagogo.co.za after being duped out of over R1500 on Monday.
Smith used the site to book three tickets for the one-day international between the Proteas and India at Kingsmead on February 1, only to be overcharged and ultimately “scammed” out of his money altogether.
His friend, Phil Riggien, also became a Viagogo victim.
“We googled India-South Africa one-day game and the first thing that came up was Viagogo, so I clicked on the site and looked for the tickets,” Smith explained.
“A notice popped up saying there are only five tickets left and they’re R365 each, so I thought ‘I’d better get these quickly.’ It was quite a sweat to book them because I was in such a worry and hurry because they were supposedly the only tickets left.
“So I quickly booked three…and then I get billed R1588! My friend bought two and he was also billed way more than it should’ve been. He then immediately went back to them and said ‘this is rubbish; cancel the deal,’ and they said you can’t – you can only put them up for sale.
“I was quite upset at this point, so I phoned the cricket union and they confirmed that it’s fraudulent and if you arrive at the stadium with those tickets, you’ll be turned away.”
The tickets, Smith explained, were emailed to him, which he then had to print out.
“The tickets became available a while after the purchase and look authentic at first glance until you see the Russian rubles and writing. They actually show they’re from Ticketpro, a local online booking site. I phoned Ticketpro and the first thing they have is a disclaimer that one must be careful of fraudsters.
“On quizzing the lady at Ticketpro, it appears that Viagogo might’ve bought tickets, under the name Alexandre Korotaev, as is on the ticket, and then on-sells these tickets many times.
“They turned out to be scholars tickets as well. I emailed Viagogo, requesting to cancel the tickets, and they told me the same thing they told my friend; that I can only resell them.
“The whole thing is a scam. I’ve lodged a complaint, but I’ve pretty much lost that money. It’s a lesson learned and I can only warn others not to fall for the same scheme.”
Thousands of people worldwide have suffered the same fate as Smith.
Viagogo is listed as ‘an online ticket marketplace for ticket resale’ (also called “scalping” or “touting”). The company, which was founded in London in 2006, has a network of more than 60 global websites with customers in 160 countries.
Meanwhile, the Hamburg District Court has issued a preliminary injunction against Switzerland-based Viagogo, banning the company from offering tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia via its online ticket marketplace prior to FIFA officially allocating such tickets and/or to Viagogo.
There’s even a Victims of Viagogo Facebook group, which has over 4000 members.