Excuse me for thinking out loud, but I’m a little concerned that I have to return to the subject of Viagogo this week. Last week I reported the story of Taylor Swift tickets that were suddenly withdrawn from sale the day before the concert. This week it’s been the turn of Ed Sheeran fans to be hit by the same shoddy ploy.
Josie Cole of Woking got in touch with me yesterday after two tickets for Friday’s Wembley concert were suddenly withdrawn on Thursday. The tickets had been bought by her sister back in November, but her concerns began to mount a week ago.
“In all of her Viagogo confirmations, it says the tickets will be despatched no later than one week before the event to her address. A week before the event and they hadn’t arrived,” Josie reported. “Viagogo said there had been a ‘mistake’ on the booking and that they needed to be picked up from Wembley instead, but refused to give her a time or location.”
Then late on Thursday night an email arrived simply saying the tickets were no longer available, with no explanation why. That caused another set of problems as the two sisters had been intending to go with their respective husbands, and the other tickets has been bought through the rival site Seatwave – and they had arrived. “We are now faced with the awful decision of which two should go tonight and which two should stay at home,” Josie told me.
Once The Independent intervened, Viagogo lived up to its policy of providing replacement tickets. Regular readers will recall that when the same thing happened to Taylor Swift fans, the company said: “Where a seller lets a buyer down, our policy is to step in and provide replacement tickets.”
They were couriered over to Josie yesterday afternoon in time for her to get to last night’s concert. But, remarkably, she wasn’t the only reader to get in touch yesterday with a similar tale of woe.
Martin Pharo bought two tickets for the concert as a birthday treat for his son. “But I received an email that they are no longer able to deliver, so they refunded me the postage and said I had to collect, but would not tell me where or when,” he reported, echoing Josie’s unhappy experience.
“Then after countless phone calls, I finally got an email at 00:07 on Friday morning stating the seller could not provide the tickets. It’s been an awful experience from start to finish and one upset son who doesn’t get his birthday present.”
Once again Viagogo acted quickly when The Independent intervened.
Martin was so angry that he has arranged another birthday treat for his son. So instead of sorting out replacement tickets, the company has promised to give him his money back in full plus a further 100 per cent cash refund by way of compensation.
A spokesman for Viagogo said: “We handle millions of transactions a week across 60 countries for live events. In the rare case that a seller lets down a buyer, our guarantee means that we will provide replacements where they are available. At worst we will refund the customer and provide further compensation. We have a team dedicated to solving these problems quickly, but occasionally a refund and compensation is the only option.
“For context, we have several thousand customers attending Ed Sheeran this weekend and only a handful of seller issues. Our aim is to have a 100 per cent success rate.” That’s a laudable aim but with three readers left upset in just over a week, it appears to be failing.