Music Festival Season Is Upon Us – How to Not Get Scammed When Purchasing Tickets!
The spectacular failure of the Fyre Festival in 2017 was shocking, as we were recently reminded by two documentaries that explore the fiasco in depth. But many say, who cares about rich people willing to spend so much money to party with models and rock stars on a private Caribbean island?
We should all care because Fyre isn’t the only festival that has failed to live up to its promise. Each summer, scammers and promoter wannabes tempt would-be festival goers into buying tickets for events promising big-name bands and all-you-can-eat food, or special events like craft beer festivals or themed fun runs. Whether the event is non-existent or merely disappointing, the result is the same: someone pockets your hard-earned money!
With spring break coming up and summer festivals in the planning stages, now is the time to be especially aware of social media posts and online ads offering great deals on tickets to summer festivals. The type of festival varies, but the come-on is often the same. When you click the link, it takes you to a flashy website with fantastic pictures. You enter your credit card information to buy tickets, and you think you are all set.
Before you buy, do a little research. Every year, BBB gets reports of fake festivals or festivals that promise much more than they deliver. Victims purchase tickets and show up at the time and location, only to find a crowd of frustrated ticket holders. The festival either never existed or fell far short of organizers’ promises.
How to Spot a Festival Fake-Out:
- Research before purchasing: Search online for the name of the festival and make sure the name advertised matches the website. Scammers often use names that sound similar to real festivals. Check bbb.org and BBB Scam Tracker to see if reports have been filed about the event.
- Check for (working) contact information: Be sure the festival website has a phone number, physical address, and email address. Be wary of sites that make it hard to reach someone, such as those that rely on a contact form instead of offering a customer service phone number.
- Prices too good to be true: There is no way a festival can offer tickets at extremely low prices without losing money. If the prices are much lower than elsewhere, it’s likely a scam.
- Claims too good to be true: Do a little online sleuthing to see if claims add up. If a music festival offers top entertainment, check out those bands’ actual touring schedule. See what other users or news outlets have said about the festival in the past.
What Can You Do?
- Pay with a credit card: You can dispute the charges if the business doesn’t come through. Be wary of online sellers that don’t accept credit cards.
- Look for secure sites: The website should begin with https (the extra “s” is for secure) and have a little lock symbol on the address bar.
- Avoid tickets sold on Craigslist and other free online listings: Scammers are skilled at providing realistic tickets and fake receipts. Check out third-party ticket sites at bbb.org before making purchases.
For more information
Learn about secure websites at BBB.org/BBBsecure.
For tips on avoiding scams and fraud, check out BBB.org/AvoidScams.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, warn other consumers by reporting the incident in BBB.org/ScamTracker.