A Tauranga father stung by fake Bruno Mars tickets has joined a group of 70 people taking a fight to the Commerce Commission over website Viagogo.
Tommy Wilson, known for his work at Te Tuinga Whanau Trust and columns in the Bay of Plenty Times, travelled to Auckland's Spark Arena on Saturday with his wife and 13-year-old daughter for Mars' final New Zealand concert.
But Wilson and his family were left heartbroken when the tickets they used to get in turned out to be fake. He joined an increasing group of people also turned away at the concert's doors because they also had been sold fake tickets.
"There were lines of girls and young ones just bawling their eyes out," Wilson said.
"I just stood outside hoping someone would come along and that is what happened. It was a bit of a divine appointment."
As Wilson waited a man approached and offered a spare ticket. The man explained his daughter had made the Porirua netball representative team and couldn't make the concert so his family had one spare if they wanted it - and they did.
"So we entrusted the family to take our daughter - your gut sometimes tells you when people are good people, and they were."
Despite this, Wilson said he did not have any details of who the family was and wanted to find them to express his utmost gratitude.
"He saved my little girl from sadness. It just reinstalls the faith in the human heart," Wilson said.
"I'd love to know who the family are. They just kind of disappeared into the crowd. These sorts of people need to be recognised."
While waiting outside the arena, Wilson banded together with other victims of fake tickets.
"There were 70 of us, and that was just our group from that night," he said.
The group collected contact details of each person and Wilson and another woman will represent when Wilson travels to Wellington tomorrow to meet with the Commerce Commission.
Last week, fellow Bruno Mars fans helped out a young boy and his mother who discovered their tickets to the concert were fake. The boy's grandmother paid $700 on Viagogo for the tickets, only for the pair to discover they had been cancelled.
On Saturday, another person fell victim after losing $400 buying Bruno Mars tickets on Viagogo.
"No one should be able to break people's hearts like that," Wilson said.
He described the people behind the fake tickets as "opportunistic racketeers".
Viagogo is a Swiss-based company and allows ticket holders to resell their tickets. It does not necessarily represent the company running the website but the ticket holder. The Bay of Plenty Times was unable to reach anyone from Viagogo for comment.
On its website, Viagogo states that "buyers are guaranteed to receive valid tickets in time for the event. If a problem arises, Viagogo will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund.
The Commission states on its website it can get involved is if there are any concerns under the Fair Trading Act which applies to traders (not individuals reselling tickets). This would include being misled about the fact that the website sells tickets for resale and is not the official ticket website; by statements on the website that imply it is the trader selling the tickets, and not that you are purchasing from an individual seller; by transaction fees that are not disclosed upfront.
ADVICE FOR TICKET BUYERS
When buying tickets you should check whether the official ticket seller, such as Ticketek or Ticketmaster, has tickets available. Make sure you are visiting the official ticket seller site, don't just assume the first web search result that comes up is the official site. Some resale sites use advertisements on Google that appear at the top of search results. One way you can ensure you have the official site is to visit the artist's official website and follow the link from their website to buy tickets.
If the official site has sold out and you decide to purchase through a resale website be aware that tickets can be significantly more expensive when purchased on ticket resale platforms. There are other risks when you buy from resale websites rather than from the official ticket website:
- the ticket you purchase could be fake
- you might never receive the ticket
- the ticket might not have the features you thought you were purchasing eg, specific location in the venue, premium add-ons or wheelchair access.
- Commerce Commission