Consumer rights: 'I bought a ticket online – but it was a scam'

What should a tennis fan do if a £500 pass to see Venus Williams play at Wimbledon doesn't arrive?...Do I need to make a will if it all goes to my wife?
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The Independent Online

In the middle of June I bought a ticket to the Wimbledon Ladies' quarter-finals, online. Reading the terms and conditions, I noticed there was a no-refund policy. I was a bit suspicious but went ahead.

The ticket cost £500, but I really wanted to see Venus Williams play. It didn't arrive, my calls to customer services were cut off, and I realised I'd been scammed.

My mother had my card stopped but by then the money had been taken. The day before the match, the firm emailed me to say I would get an e-ticket to print and hand in at the gate. Of course it didn't arrive.Another e-mail told me to meet a courier at 11:00am the next morning at Wimbledon station to pick up my ticket. But by then I'd found online reviews saying, "Never use this company. It's a scam." I went to Wimbledon the next day to queue, got a much more affordable Court 1 ticket, and saw Venus lose.

Is there anything I can do? Or do I have to put this down to my own stupidity and learn the lesson?

KT

London

It's probably not much consolation, but one-in-12 online ticket-buyers get caught out like this. That goes for concerts, arts events and festivals, as well as sports tickets. It's quite common for these sites to sell tickets for events that are sold out and to tell you someone will meet you there with your ticket. Make sure the site gives a proper address, not just a PO Box, and a landline, and check these before you buy. Also, do a search on the site's name. Consumer Direct, the Government's consumer advice service, has a campaign called Just Tick It. It shows the kind of things that might appear on a fake site. Have a look before you book any tickets online at consumerdirect.gov.uk. The UK European Consumer Centre also has a leaflet, Can you rely on your festival tickets?, that you can download at ukecc.net.

The good news is that your bank has investigated the site, reported it, accepted this was a scam and has refunded the ticket price to your account. So you've still got a healthy bank balance, and had a great day out. I also understand that the authorities are moving to close the site.

If you buy tickets by credit card, and each costs more than £100, it comes under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This says the card firm is equally liable with the retailer if things go wrong. With a debit card you don't have that protection, but Visa and Mastercard do have chargeback schemes under which you may get your money back, so contact your bank. Check your home insurance too – some policies cover fraud.

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My wife's nagging me to make a will. We live in a house belonging to my daughter. Most of our savings are in joint names and there's the car, a few antiques and investments and some Premium Bonds. My wife will get the lot so I say there's no point spending hundreds of pounds having a will made just for the sake of it. Am I right?

PB

Hampshire

About two-thirds of us die without wills, and solicitors make a fortune clearing up the messes. You seem to think it's all straightforward, but what exactly does "a few investments and some Premium Bonds" amount to?

The assets in joint names go automatically to your wife, with your personal belongings. The assets that aren't in joint names are your estate. If your estate adds up to more than £250,000 it doesn't all automatically go to your wife. She would get £250,000 plus a life interest in half of the rest (she can't spend the capital, only the interest). The remainder, goes to your children. Your wife could be in the position of having to give your children money out of your joint savings to cover their share, or having to cash in investments to pay them off. If investments have gone down in value that could mean cashing them in at a loss. She may also be worried about having enough to keep her in her home in the long term.

You might also want to think about what happens if you die together, or soon after one another. You say you're living in a house belonging to "my" daughter. Is she not also your wife's daughter? Could that be worrying your wife? A chat with a solicitor who specialises in wills would give you both peace of mind. Ask friends for recommendations. A straightforward will could cost less than £100.

www.moneyagoneyaunt.com

Do you need help with a consumer complaint?

Write to Julian Knight at the Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF j.knight@independent.co.uk

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