My wife and I went to Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza show last Saturday – it was so breathtakingly good, I decided to give a daughter to two tickets for her birthday.
Knowing we had a very busy week coming up, when I awoke early on Monday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, I thought I might as well get up, check emails and book the tickets. A bad decision made worse by the fact I ignored warning signals in the back of my brain. To explain.
I Googled Cirque du Soleil, Kooza and up came the relevant site (s) with 5 stars gleaming and hints of glowing reviews. I clicked through. The site seemed different to the site I’d booked our tickets on a couple of weeks previously. There was urgency, flashing messages – “You’re third in line,” “These tickets are selling quickly,” “Cancel as others are waiting,” classic sales push lines, but there was a similarity to the previous time, where a message would come up asking if I wanted to relinquish the tickets. So although I was a touch uneasy, I kept going.
I wanted two good tickets for the Saturday night show at 8.00pm. The seats came up in what I recognised as a good clear view position and the price, although oddly cheap, was very reasonable. The flashing warnings re wanting the tickets, were by now close to epilepsy inducing.
I’m embarrassed to admit that the pressure confused me, I panicked and filled in the pre-requisite credit card details and my email address etc. “Congratulations!” screamed the flashing message. A page of info flashed up, but was gone before I could register what it was. But all was good, I knew I had the tickets to the show I wanted, at a very reasonable price.
Then another message appeared – “Your tickets will be issued within three days of the event, make sure …blah, blah, blah.” I had not seen any such message when booking the previous tickets, only a message to say the tickets had been booked and I would shortly receive an email with the tickets attached. By now the alarm bells were screaming.
I finally looked more closely at the web address and discovered I wasn’t dealing with Cirque du Soleil at all, it was a company called Viagogo. WTF? Then an email arrived, from Viagogo, telling me my ticket purchase was successful and $191.81 had been taken from my account. A figure which bore no resemblance to the $108.00 total of the two tickets I’d purchased.
Cirque du Soleil – Kooza
Saturday, 03 June 2017 16:30
Under The Grand Chapiteau, Perth, Australia
Only 6 days until the event!
Tickets for this event are selling fast
Most popular section
Notes: Unrestricted view (what’s this?)
Guaranteed to arrive in time
You’ll be seated together
||AU$ 73.12 per ticket
|Number of Tickets
|VAT and Booking Fee
||A$20.31 per ticket
|Secure Ticket Handling
||A$2.47 per ticket
|This is an approximate conversion. These tickets are listed in RUB. You will pay RUB8,074.
Order Confirmed – 12794082
Congratulations! You’re on your way to see Cirque du Soleil – Kooza at Under The Grand Chapiteau!
Your tickets will be available for download no later than 3 days before the event. We’ll notify you as soon as your tickets are ready for download.
Copyright © viagogo AG 2017 Company Details
Then another email arrived from this Viagogo, the tickets were attached, but they bore the name Lyudmila Khalyavine and the show was 4.30pm not 8.00pm. The tickets had a value of $54.00 each on them, but sure enough, I’d paid $191.81, which to be fair, is within the price range I’d originally been looking at.
I knew something was terribly wrong.
I quickly Googled Viagogo and was shocked at the reviews that came up – here’s are two examples (and there are thousands like them):
THis company is probably the worst i have encountered yet for customer services
They sold me tickets and despite various requests to the terrible customer service that is email only and never gets answered, then weeks later i am still without a row and seat numbers
i am in the process of following up through trading standards, and i suggest all other complainers do the same to get this company addressed
the directors email addresses are as follows
prabhat.shah at viagogo.com
eric.baker at viagogo.com
Steve.roest at viagogo.com
i never got a reply from them either , but i know they were receiving them as i got back out of ofice replies
if you are fortunate enough to read these reviews before you give them any money … DONT DO IT
Published 28 hours ago
I ordered 2 tickets for Rolling Stones that cost 260euro each. They billed me a WAY WAY WAY higher price, informing me about “ADDITIONAL FEES” AFTER the payment of 2х260 was confirmed with a window that appeared for 30 seconds on my screen and can not be seen anymore. I HAVE NOT APPROVED a payment of a different sum.
They are obligated to inform their customers BEFORE they take their money. Otherwise they can take whatever they want from your account, saying that you have agreed.
I have NOT agreed for any additional services charges, nor policies, terms&conditions and etc. I agreed for a price of 260 euro per ticket.
I’m not discussing that the real price, mentioned on the tickets is 180 euro. I’m discussing that thy have billed me 712 euro instead of 520 without ANY explanation ! That is a robbery!!!!!
They refuse to give money back, they refuse to send me an invoice or explain why they have taken money from my account without approval.
I will contact customer rights in UK now.
This was worldwide deception, cunning and theft on a scale Donald Trump would be proud of and it seemed nobody had any success in contacting Viagogo Geneva. I rang Mastercard.
“I’m sorry Mr Ross, we can see the $191.81 has come out of your account, but it has been fully approved by you. There is nothing we can do at this stage. We know this company, they are a legitimate ticket on-seller. They sell tickets on behalf of other people to the highest bidder. Unfortunately people don’t often realise they’re in a bidding situation and often the price of the tickets is far higher than people thought”
“What can I do, if anything?” I asked.
“Very little at this stage,” the lady replied, “However we often find the tickets have been sold to several different parties and whoever gets to the entry gate first, gets; the seats, anybody else misses out. In fact sometimes we find the seats don’t actually exist, but we can’t do anything unless those conditions present themselves, as you’ve approved the purchase.”
“So what can I do?”
“Although you are disputing the event time, we know from experience that a screen has popped up too quickly for anybody to take in, specifying the time, date and price of the purchase. You will have to attend the event entry gate at the time of the specified show and if you get in to the seats, then that’s what you authorised and there is no come back. If however, you find somebody else already has those tickets and you can’t be admitted, or if indeed the tickets are false, then you can claim with us.”
“Bloody Hell!” I replied, “It’s a very smooth con!”
“I can only say that we are aware of this company Mr Ross, all you can do is what I suggested.”
“Do you think it would help if I wrote to Cirque du Soleil asking if the tickets were legitimate?”
”That’s a very good idea, however a lot of companies will not answer emails on that topic, but yes, it’s worth a try. If they were to tell you the tickets weren’t correct, we could act immediately.” I thanked her for her advice and emailed Cirque du Solei’s head office in Montreal, as follows:
Sent: Monday, 29 May 2017 5:18 AM To: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Subject: Re: Possible False Tickets
I’m looking for a little help, in that I think I may have been scammed. To explain, my wife and I went to the Kooza show here in Perth on Friday (26th May) night, it was so brilliant, I decided to buy two tickets for one of my daughters (birthday present). However the ticket site suddenly seemed different and it became very strange, not like the Cirque site I’d used before.
It’s turned out to be something called Viagogo – which it’s all over the internet, is a scam. Certainly two tickets came through by email, however they’re in the name of a Lyudmila Khalyavine and completely different seats to what I thought I was purchasing and the early Saturday show, not the evening show! It gets worse, the tickets have a value of $54.00 on them, which doesn’t match your prices and of course, $191.81 came out of my credit account.
Realising I’ve been conned, I then bought two replacement tickets from the proper Cirque du Soleil site, this time for the Friday (2nd June) 8.30pm show.
I’ve rung my credit card provider and they tell me they can’t do anything unless I find that the tickets can’t be used, hence this email to you. I need to know if the tickets are legitimate and hope you’ll be able to tell me.
The ticket numbers are: 727 697 169 679 197 483 and 963 917 119 106 151 918
They are Section 206, Row S, seats 1 and 2.
I guess if they’re usable, I’ll have to wear it, but hopefully they’re not.
Apologies for bothering you, any information you can give me, as soon as convenient, would be very much appreciated. I have attached a copy of the tickets.
Many thanks for any assistance you’re able to offer.
In less than 24 hours, Cirque du Soleil sent me the following email:
Subject: Re: [#4072161] Re: Possible False Tickets
Thank you for your message!
The tickets you have purchased through Viagogo do not show up in our system nor does the name on the tickets.
If you have any other questions, contact our Customer Contact Centre by telephone or by e-mail and one of our agents will assist you with pleasure.
Cirque du Soleil™
Customer Contact Centre
Centre Contact Clients
Canada & USA : 1-877-9 CIRQUE (247783)
International : 00-800-1-548-0000 or 0011-800-1-548-0000
Yep, the tickets were bullshit. I immediately sent the correspondence to Mastercard and they have now raised a complaint, they have also told me they would prefer I replace my credit card, as it’s not unknown for Viagogo to make further deductions.
I think I’ve been saved in the nick of time, although it may well take a week or so before the money is refunded to my account, which could be catastrophic for somebody on a lean budget trying to buy a present and there are countless tales of people thinking they’ve bought tickets, albeit at a scalpers prices, then booking flights and accommodation to attend the concert or football match – When I told my wife what I’d done, she said, “Oh my God, Viagogo have been ripping off soccer fans in Germany! They are terrible!”
I don’t mind looking like a fool if my story helps other people.
IF YOU SEE THE NAME VIAGOGO – GET OUT OF THEIR SITE.
I also think it’s high time both Google and Facebook accepted some responsibility for the bullshit advertisers on their sites. Governments should force Google and Facebook to pay into a fund to reimburse consumers ripped off by shonky advertisers.
Mar 8, 2017 – When CHOICE visited Viagogo to check out prices to Adele’s upcoming tour, we found listings for the “Cheapest in Sydney!” at $145. Far from it: …