9. August 2021 | Service tips

Frustration instead of anticipation: what you should bear in mind when you buy tickets online

At last we can attend concerts, theatre performances and sporting events again. So the tickets have been bought, the seats are excellent, the anticipation is rising - but then comes disillusionment. The tickets don't arrive or are outrageously expensive, and on top of everything else the customer service is a disaster. When they buy tickets on the Internet, consumers fall into this trap again and again, and what they think are bargains turn into a source of frustration. In the following we will explain what you need to be aware of when you buy tickets online, and what rights you have if you are the victim of a scam.

In addition to purchasing tickets directly from event organisers or ticket agencies, there is also the possibility of buying them on so-called online ticket exchanges. But be careful: these exchanges merely provide a platform for sales, while the sellers themselves are usually private individuals who want to resell their tickets. It is not always clear to buyers that it is a private purchase and that different conditions apply. Because the seller is not clearly identified, there is no specific contact person in the event of a claim. This makes it much more difficult to clarify the situation, especially since victims repeatedly report that the customer service of many online ticket exchanges leaves a lot to be desired.

But what specific traps can consumers fall into when they purchase tickets on online ticket exchanges?

  • Sometimes tickets are bought on a large scale directly from the organiser or ticket agencies and then resold at a considerably higher price. On the one hand, this means that tickets bought via ticket exchanges can be priced higher than the actual selling price. In addition, some organisers want to counteract this scam, which is why tickets are often personalised, i.e. issued in the name of a specific person. This makes the ticket unusable for third parties.
  • When tickets are purchased online, surcharges for booking and handling costs as well as VAT may apply. This surcharge is not always communicated transparently.
  • In addition, you have no influence on the delivery period. Even if you have already purchased the tickets weeks before the event, it is possible that the tickets will only arrive shortly before the event - or in the worst case, after it has already taken place.
  • Some ticket exchanges also reserve the right to simply issue you with tickets other than those you booked. This means that you may receive tickets for a different day, or for seats other than the ones you selected.
  • In extreme cases, you may be rejoicing about tickets for an event that does not exist at all, in other words fake tickets. In such cases, you can try to reclaim the money. Always proceed in writing, send a letter by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt and use concrete formulations such as the wording: "I hereby contest the contract of [date] due to fraudulent misrepresentation. Alternatively, I declare my withdrawal from the purchase contract. I hereby demand that you immediately refund to me the payments I have already made. If you do not comply, I reserve the right to take further legal action."

Useful to know: some online ticket exchanges also advertise with a guarantee that you will receive your tickets whatever happens, which suggests that you are dealing with a direct supplier. However, it goes without saying that on the basis of the purchase contract you are entitled to the purchased product or service anyway. The guarantee therefore only covers the minimum legal standard.

For a smooth and satisfactory ticket purchase, consumers should therefore first check exactly which ticket provider they are dealing with before clicking on "Order". Make sure that it is a reputable provider and not a possible fake shop. When making a payment, always use secure payment methods. And if in doubt, use the purchaser protection that is offered.

If you have been taken in by a scam and direct contact with the seller has not produced any results, you can also contact the consumer advice centre.