Consumer rights: 'My night at the opera was spoilt by agency's con'
Problems with the secondary ticket market...Stung by airline's hidden fees...Credit checks after identity fraud
Sunday 17 July 2011
Q. I am the victim of an on-line ticket scam operated by a Paris-based agency. In February I paid €461.90 for two tickets for a performance of Cosi Fan Tutte at the Palais Garnier in June. Despite approaches by email, fax, telephone and post, I never received the tickets and now need to institute legal proceedings to recover the money. Where do I lodge the complaint and get the necessary forms?
A. You appear to have fallen foul of the secondary ticket market (or ticket resale), where tickets have been bought from the authorised seller and sold on by the buyer – an individual or a company – at a price set by them.
Over the past few years there have been numerous websites selling tickets for festivals, concerts and sporting events that have already been "sold out". Even when the official website says an event is sold out, the temptation of a website still offering tickets is too great for some people, even at inflated prices. If the tickets don't arrive, the seller is usually long gone and the customer has very little protection.
You haven't told me how you paid for the non-existent tickets. If you used a credit card you can make a claim from your credit card company under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This is likely to be your best option.
If you didn't use a credit card, the next (not very hopeful) step would be court action. Jed Mayatt, the manager of the Trading Standards Institute's UK European Consumer Centre (UKECC), says: "The consumer will not have to go to a French court. He or she can use the European small claims procedure which is carried out via the local county court. Speak to your local court to find out how this process is initiated.
"The consumer's best bet is to contact us directly so we can create a case and share it with our French counterparts to try to resolve the problems. We have no enforcement powers, but more often than not there has been a lack of communication, and when we contact a trader the issue is resolved. I have to admit in these cases it can be difficult."
You can contact the UK ECC (www.ukecc.net) on 08456 04 05 03 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I've just booked flights to Aberdeen and was charged £18 for using a debit card. I thought I'd read recently that airlines had been told to stop this practice. Tickets which appeared to be £82 each have cost me £240 altogether because I wanted to book my seats, have one piece of luggage in the hold and pay by debit card. Can you tell me what the situation is on this please?
A. You may have read that consumer watchdogs in the UK are threatening to take action against airlines and other travel firms over this, but it's still work in progress. The consumer magazine Which? has found 16 airlines charging customers for using credit cards. It has complained to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which is considering whether to take action.
These surcharges are added to the payment charges only after you have filled in all the necessary details and are about to buy. These "hidden" charges are known as dipping. The airlines use them to help keep the headline prices of their tickets down.
The OFT feels that adding these charges at the last minute is potentially misleading and wants airlines and other travel firms to avoid any extra charges when paying by debit card. It seems more sympathetic to adding extra charges on credit cards sales because credit card transactions are more expensive to process.
It's warning that if airlines don't sort this out they may be forced to. We should know more in the autumn.
Q. In May this year I was the victim of ID theft which resulted in three phones being fraudulently ordered in my name. The police suggested I check my credit record in case any further fraudulent use had been made of my details.
I had noticed Experian ads for a "free" credit check so I went to their website and gave some details including my email address. The next screen asked for credit or debit card details. At that point I decided not to go ahead and closed the web page. I hadn't used any "Confirm" or "Submit" buttons. Although the screen said there would be no charge for the first 30 days I didn't feel confident about giving out these details. I thought that would be an end of it.
However, within minutes I received an email from CreditExpert saying that I was within inches of receiving my credit report and I had "opted" to receive their communications. Since then Experian has used my email address six times to try to get me to sign up for this "free" trial. Although I can unsubscribe I don't think they had the right to use it in the first place without my permission and I'm not encouraged to use the service.
A. I put your complaint direct to James Jones, the consumer education manager at Experian, and he says: "You need to enter card details when joining CreditExpert because the free trial will continue into a monthly subscription if you don't cancel it within 30 days. The card details also help us confirm your identity. Our marketing is always permission based and you can withdraw this at any time by clicking on the opt-out link.
"Victims of identity fraud can get a free report from each of the three credit reference agencies – you simply need to raise the alarm with any of them. To report a confirmed identity fraud to Experian simply call 0844 481 8000 selecting option 5 then option 2."
Phoenix Life: Chance of a refund for overcharged policyholders has risen
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Has your Premium Bond won the £1million jackpot?
There are 'dark corners' of the investment and pensions industry, says Pension Minister
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads