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Ticket to happiness?

Tips for buying tickets online

Experiencing the favourite singer live, travelling to a musical in London or Hamburg, being at a soccer game with Messi - fulfilling such dreams is often only a mouse click away. There are many ticket shops in the web, but how can you avoid overpricing or fraud?

Consumers turn to the ECC to complain about shady providers. The range of problems is wide - from not delivered to fake tickets. With the following tips, you can prevent such disappointments.

Is this really the event you wish for?

Especially when it comes to theater, musical or opera, advertising likes to use big names. In reality, the show is not Les Miserables or the Phantom of the Opera, but a small tour production that is only remotely based on the original. Some of the characters might appear, but with a completely different story, context and music.

It is therefore important that you carefully read all the small print before you purchase a ticket. The fact that it is a coverband or new interpretation is often only mentioned in a sub-clause. Eventhough this says nothing about quality, you should know what to expect and what you pay for.

Caution: Some consumers told us that they received other tickets than the ones they ordered. The trader had reserved the right to provide only similar, but in his opinion equal tickets. That's another reason to make sure that you read all terms & conditions before you order!

Purchasing online

The artist or organisator often indicates on his website where you can buy tickets for his event. It is recommended to order at these official ticket agencies. If the contingent is sold out, you can directly ask the organisator whether or not there will be any more tickets and where. In times of Facebook and other social media, getting in touch is simple.

As soon as the tickets are sold out, the sale by third-party vendors begins. Caution is needed as the purchase through an inofficial trader can bear certain risks.

Pay attention to the following details before you order:

Is any important information about the provider missing?

  • Imprint with full postal address and contact details (mail, phone)
  • T&C, including cancellation policy

What means of payment are possible?

  • Don't pay in advance, but only after you hold the tickets in your hands!
  • If that's not possible, payment via credit card is the best way to go. In case of fraud, you can ask your card provider for a chargeback of the ticket price.

Carefully read the cancellation conditions.

  • This applies to official ticket agencies as well!
  • Under which circumstances can you return the tickets?
  • What are the cancellation costs and how much of the ticket price would you get back?
  • Will the ticket provider cover the refund or would he refer your request to the organisator? If so, you should also read the cancellation policy on the organisator's website. It is questionable if the organisator will refund tickets that have not been purchased at an official ticket agency.
  • What happens if the event gets cancelled or postponed?
  • What if essential elements are changed (like the artists)?

No entry despite a ticket?

If your ticket is not accepted at the entrance, it might be fraud. In this case, you can only turn to the police to file a claim. If you paid for the fake or invalid tickets by creditcard, ask your bank or credit card company for a chargeback.

Anything is possible – Examples from the ECC

In our daily routine, we hear a lot about scenarios and problems regarding ticket purchases. That's how we know what to look out for.

Case example 1:

An Austrian consumer wanted to purchase two tickets for a concert in London online. As she clicked on the button "pay", she got forwarded to the website of a subsidiary. After she purchased the tickets and booked the trip to London, the concert got postponed. The first ticket shop would have refunded the tickets, but the subsidiary refused to do so. When the consumer complaint to the first trader, they claimed to have no connection to the subsidiary. The consumer had to rebook her journey at high costs in order to be able to use her tickets and see the concert.

Case example 2:

A passionate football fan wanted to go to England to see a match. He purchased the ticket at a British ticket agency. What he didn't know: Many British football clubs reserve the right to postpone games. Tickets can't be returned because of that. The ticket agencies refund nothing or only half of the ticket price. Especially for consumers who travel all the way to England, those regulations are difficult and often costly.

Case example 3:

The Italian Competition Authority recently fined several ticket shops. According to its investigation, the offical ticket agency did not take appropriate steps to prevent ticket touting. Therefore, concert tickets would quickly sell out on the primary market, and become immediately available on the secondary market at inflated prices. The secondary sellers would only provide incomplete or incorrect information to consumers and violate consumer rights (read more).


  • Search for the ticket shop online - are there any bad reviews of other consumers?
  • Have you been forwarded to another website? Check the URL during the whole booking process.
  • Make screenshots - you can later prove what the website looked like and what was stated in the T&C when you purchased the tickets.
  • Lesen Sie sich immer aufmerksam die Stornobedingungen der Ticketanbieter bzw. Veranstalter durch!
  • Carefully read the cancellation policy of the ticket agency as well as the organisator!

What happens if the open air concert is cancelled due to bad weather? Or if the drummer gets sick and the whole tour is called off? Find all information in our article Your rights at concerts!

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