‘Paid 400 euros, but never got the ticket’



  • Cecile van de Grift

    reporter News Hour

  • Cecile van de Grift

    reporter News Hour

Concert tickets at extortionate prices, theater tickets that turn out not to exist or rogue online barter. Now that the cultural sector is running at full speed again, abuses in ticket sales are also increasing again. Many organizations in the cultural sector are therefore arguing for strict legislation.

Concerthal Ziggo Dome and organizer Mojo Concerts are sounding the alarm because they had to disappoint hundreds of people at concerts in recent weeks because their tickets turned out to be invalid. Dozens of reports about ticket scams have been received by the Consumers’ Association and Fraud Helpdesk this year alone.

Joke and Martin Pfaff paid 400 euros for tickets to Queen, but never received the tickets. They turned out to have been sent to an address in the United Kingdom. In a response, ticket seller Viagogo says that it will not comment publicly on Joke’s case. In general, there would be a problem with less than 1 percent of tickets.

‘You see a price and you go for it’

Last Wednesday, the Tom Jones concert in the Ziggo Dome was also a hit. Several concert-goers had paid considerable amounts for second-hand tickets, which had been used for fraud. “It’s been rife lately, incredibly sad,” says Danny Damman, director of Ziggo Dome. “Sometimes it concerns more than three hundred people, whom we have to refuse at a concert.”

These are tickets that are sold on, sometimes several times, that have not been purchased from the official ticket sellers. The cultural industry has been warning about this for some time. “Of course we have been standing still for two years because of corona and it seems that people have forgotten to buy tickets in the right places,” says Damman.

fake names

Selling fake tickets is prohibited, but reselling tickets for high prices is allowed in the Netherlands, unlike many other European countries. In Belgium, for example, there is a total ban on the resale of tickets for a profit.

A website like Ticketswap tries to fight extortionate prices itself. Sellers are allowed to add a maximum of twenty percent on top of the price. But traders seem to be active there too. There are users who have sold more than 23,000 tickets. Ticketswap indicates that it no longer actively combats this because traders use fake names.

Ticketswap cannot 100 percent prevent tickets from being invalid, but they can provide that certainty for tickets with a ‘secure swap label’. These are tickets from organizers they work with. “In the unlikely event that a ticket does not work, we do everything we can to ensure that someone still comes in or gets money back.”

There are simply European studies, which show that it is a multi-billion dollar industry with a really huge amount of money.

Peter Kwint, Member of Parliament SP

Stricter legislation could be a solution, according to the cultural sector. CDA and SP submitted a private member’s bill in 2017 to curb the resale of tickets. This proposal was defeated in the Senate.

“At the time, there were parties who felt that the size of the problem had not been sufficiently investigated. I think that is nonsense,” says Peter Kwint of the SP. “There are simply European studies that show that it is a multi-billion dollar industry with a really huge amount of money.” Kwint is trying to get the State Secretary to amend the law after all.

Ziggo Dome, together with various parties, has breathed new life into their ‘Weetwaarjekoopt.nl’ campaign. This website describes how you can safely buy tickets via the official sales points.