Cape Town - National ticketing website Webtickets has launched a “safe transfer service” for ticketholders who have bought tickets for events but can no longer use them.
Although the service had been available for a few weeks ahead of the recent fraud at the Darling music festival Rocking the Daisies, its availability was not yet widely known, nor clearly posted on the website.
The site now warns people to “beware of scamsters” and not to buy tickets from “dodgy characters”, with very clear instructions on how to conduct a safe transfer via Webtickets.
Now, if for some reason you can’t make it to an event, you can sell your ticket through Webtickets, which will ensure that the buyer pays you. For buyers, it will check the tickets are legitimate and transferred into the name of the new buyer.
The buyer and the seller never have to meet in person. And, if your own ticket is stolen, you can transfer the original ticket to another ticket with another barcode in your name. The stolen ticket will be cancelled.
The transfer concept is predominantly aimed at removing the scalper, the person trying to make money from selling a ticket for more than its face value. Tickets will be sold at original cost through the transfer system, with an additional R25 administration fee, which goes to Webtickets.
Those who want to make a profit by selling tickets for popular sold-out events, like the upcoming Bastille concerts at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, may still try to sell on Gumtree. But Webtickets co-owners Jonathan Wayne and Christy Turner warned there was always a risk associated with buying from third-party sellers.
“If a ticket is sold through a third party, we wash our hands of it,” Turner said.
The biggest case of fraud that Webtickets has experienced was at the Rocking the Daisies festival, where many people were turned away from the sold-out festival at the gate.
Dustin Hermanus, a former Bishops student known and trusted by a large network in Cape Town, allegedly sold fake tickets on Gumtree for a discounted rate of R450. He claimed he had bought too many tickets and that some of his friends were no longer able to attend. Many people took advantage of the offer.
Most of the buyers knew Hermanus through mutual friends. Webtickets estimates that, although it only sold 40 tickets to Hermanus (which it later cancelled), hundreds of people were possibly affected by the alleged scam.
“There’s been fraud before, but on a very, very small scale. It’s usually isolated to one or two tickets… not like this,” Wayne said.
He said the incident had created panic and paranoia, with many people calling them to check whether tickets they had bought from third parties were in fact legitimate.
With the new system, Webtickets plans to eliminate that risk. They also will be keeping more of an eye on sites like Gumtree from now on, aside from the twice-daily fraud checks on their own site.
“We can’t control the seller,” Wayne said.
“But we can control the buyer by making sure they are buying from a legitimate source.” - Weekend Argus