Authorities are warning festival-goers to be wary of purchasing tickets online amid rising fraudulent sales.
- Hannah Valentine, 19, pleaded guilty to selling fake tickets to more than 100 people
- Some festivals offer official resale websites to facilitate the safe purchase of legitimate tickets
- Consumer Protection says normal consumer law does not apply if tickets are bought from private sellers
Hannah Valentine, 19, from the Perth suburb of Innaloo, recently pleaded guilty to selling fake tickets to more than 100 people and gaining about $10,000 from the sales.
Senior Constable Fraser Munro from WA Police said the matter was handed over by Victorian police, who received two complaints of fraudulent ticket sales involving Valentine.
He said police believed that since December 2017 Valentine had been selling counterfeit tickets for concerts and music festivals on Facebook and Gumtree by creating accounts under different names.
Fake names used in the transactions included Natalia Sparrow, Daniella Walsh, Hannah Jane Mathews, HannahVal, Sophie-Marie Lewis and Jessica Lewis.
“She received money via direct transfer into her bank accounts … but the tickets were either altered, or they’re just fake tickets in general, and other times she didn’t send the victims anything in return,” Senior Constable Munro said.
Apart from the two complaints in Victoria, no-one else made official police reports about the scam.
Senior Constable Munro said most victims had either written it off due to the relatively small amount of money they lost, or had reported it to their bank and were told nothing could be done as they had transferred the money themselves.
He said ticket scams had started to become a real issue and warned people to take precautions when buying tickets online or in person.
“We are seeing a lot more of people either purchasing online being scammed and not receiving the goods, or themselves trying to sell things online and have incidents where people are turning up and stealing items they’re trying to sell,” he said.
The events targeted by Valentine included a concert by US rapper Post Malone, Seasons events, and the Listen Out music festival.
Consumers not always protected
Listen Out organisers said they saw many people ripped off by ticket scammers each year.
“We created an official resale site to help facilitate the safe sale and purchase of tickets,” a Listen Out spokeswoman told the ABC.
“All our messaging implores customers not to buy tickets from third party retailers or people they do not know.”
Consumer Protection WA supported the use of reselling tickets from the official website.
“So long as consumers are only dealing with the primary authorised seller for reselling, we would view that as safe,” Consumer Protection Commissioner David Hillyard said.
The consumer watchdog received complaints about 16 scam-related ticket sales in 2018, one in January 2019 and one in February 2019.
“We do our best to assist consumers who lodge a complaint when they are unable to get a refund from a reseller for an invalid ticket,” he said.
“However, they need to be aware that if they buy tickets from a private seller instead of a business, then the Australian Consumer Law does not apply and they will not be able to get a refund.”
Mr Hillyard said the only way people could get their money back in the event of purchasing an invalid ticket was by using a credit card.
“If you’re going to purchase, purchase by way of a credit card transaction so you’ve got the protection of a chargeback,” he said.
Valentine pleaded guilty to 28 charges of gaining benefit by fraud and is due to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on March 18.
Police urged anyone who suspected they had been sold a counterfeit ticket to report the matter immediately.
Topics: consumer-protection, police, crime, carnivals-and-festivals, wa, perth-6000
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