Fans Experiences of O2 Ticketing Problems and Follow Up Advice

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From Kelly Gaffney.

 

By now, many people will have heard of the ticketing issues that took place during the Foo Fighters’ O2 show on Tuesday. If not, here’s a quick recap as well as as statement from the band and management (via the BBC).

Fans say:

Jacob Squelch:

I had my ID checked in queue E, I’d seen a handful of people to the side, once I got to the front, who weren’t being let in either due to ticket/ID issues. As someone else said, and my experience of security, the outer ring was lacklustre really and I didn’t go much on the security there. The queue for queue E was massive, and whilst it moved quickly, someone could still cause problems in an area like that. Once my ticket was checked and I got through, it was a metal detector and further check of ticket. Sadly it’s needed in this day and age, but I think there should be more on the outer part. There’s still crowd of people there. As for way forward on the tickets, as I mentioned in another post, if promoters are going to start printing names on tickets, either give the option of putting in the additional names for said additional tickets, or go down the same road as Glastonbury do with theirs.

Sarah Neale:

We were at Entrance H at around 7.15 ish, got tickets checked twice then through the metal detectors etc. ID and credit card were both checked then tickets scanned after security. We were Qing for around 15 mins but as we went up the escalators the Q behind us was massive. We were in the merch Q longer than the entrance Q! There were a lot of empty seats in the arena but they were filled by the time the Foos came on.
On the train home we did over hear a couple who had bought tickets from Viagogo and had been refused entry. They were on the phone trying to sort everything out. Apparently they were told they wouldn’t need matching ID, which is clearly incorrect. Everywhere stated you would need ID matching your tickets. I do feel sorry for fans who didn’t get to see the show.

Sarah Fullick:

I was at Gate B with my son in a small queue about 6:45. I looked back and the queues were really long. But not ours. I couldn’t understand why our queue was so short and we were moving quickly. I even spoke to 2 ladies in front and were were all a bit miffed about the speed of our queue. No one was behind us and no security moving people over into our queue. Then panic struck us all. So many people being turned away!! One young lad with his dad was in tears. It broke our hearts. And made us anxious that maybe the queue we were in was rejecting people! My son and I had to show our ID’s yet the tickets was only In my name. The ladies in front got in and we were held up by the scanner on the people who were from the next queue as there ticket had already been scanned and the people were in, seated. No one went to check who was sitting in those seats and where they got those tickets from. The poor people were turned away. I was thinking what if our tickets have bee duplicated and we can’t get in! I’d be furious! Thankfully we got in but my thoughts were with these people all night and how these true fans had missed out. Then as we went through those lovely ladies in front of us had waited to see if we had got in as they could see we had a hold up. Thank you to those ladies. They were lovely. That’s what it’s all about. A love for a band and seeing ones you only just met briefly looking out for each other. Feeling for the ones that didn’t get it to (in my sons words) the best gig he’s ever been to. I really hope it will stop happening. We were fortunate we got to our awesome seats by 7pm. But I looked around and there was so many seats empty till at least 8pm. I agree it needs a rethink and something done about ticket sales. It’s so cruel to be turned away on the night.

Beverley Checkley:

We were ID checked at gate E, totally agree with it, I do really feel for the genuine fans who were turned away, but these sites need shutting down, then real fans should have less of an issue getting tickets in the first place. We were lucky and got tickets a couple of weeks ago, thanks to you posting they had some available!Up to then we weren’t going as Viagogo etc wanted silly money for them!

Liz Bray:
I have an opinion on this, I realise it might be a bit controversial. I purchased my tickets legitimately and had no problems with showing my ID. Security was a complete joke, backed up huge lines which made us a far bigger terrorist target than we used to be at the O2!

However I saw someone turned away because his sister had purchased from a third party site. It was his birthday present.

I think that it is fundamentally wrong for the O2 to advertise StubHub on the electronic screens in the venue (which they did on Saturday whilst I was waiting for Micky Flanagan) and then not allow entry.

Also, if ticketmaster has ‘Get Me In’ as a sister site, that too legitimises these reseller sites.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m a huge supporter of your campaign, I backed your Kickstarter campaign. However I have had friends buying tickets not knowing that StubHub is a reseller. Also, god my heart goes out to those turned away when they had paid so much and travelled so far. They got penalised for an industry which seems on first look legitimate. Fundamental change needs to happen not banning the people who have fallen foul of the reseller sites.

Ben Houghton:

I tried to get tickets when they went on sale and missed out. Had already booked hotel etc on the on chance I could get one. I left it and was gutted by not being able to go and I refuse to pay extortionate prices for things through third parties. It was my birthday and my wife bought me a ticket through viagogo, even after telling her not too. I rang the company numerous times about the name issue on the ticket and got sent an email back saying it doesn’t matter you’ll be let in, after the posts on the group wall yesterday, I then rang up numerous times again and went to the office just outside the venue, which was open at the time. I got told I would have to have ticket refused and they would then reissue it. I went to get in and spoke to the lady and she confiscated my ticket and gave me a fraud form from the 02. I then went back to the office and shock horror it was closed, with a load of others in the same boat. Even looked at buying another ticket but it was behind the stage, so would have been rubbish, especially as I’m a standing kind of person. As it turned out I got chatting to a pregnant couple and we started a conversation with a security bloke called Robbie, absolutely amazing guy, who said he would try to sort something out for us, but it was gonna be difficult for me as I had already had my ticket taken. But about 6pm he came back to us and escorted all three of us into the venue, the couple to their seats, me with a wristband to the standing area. What looked like was gonna be a really bad day turned out amazing, I’m also very appreciative of how lucky I was. The show was spectacular as always! Ben

Gemma Harman:

We tried to get tickets on the priority app and through general release but were unsuccessful. As we always have done we initially had people try for us but as soon as we saw the info about the lead booker we stopped them and just tried for our selves. I was annoyed by the two ticket limit as we wanted to get tickets for D too. Anyway after having a massive sulk at not getting any tickets let alone 3 I resigned myself to not going. I had loads of people offering me tickets but all the lead booker stuff put me off I knew it was a risk. Luckily someone I knew from a different band page had a spare ticket and asked if I wanted to tag along with her. Much to the jealousy of the boys hahaaa. So although I bought a ticket off someone because I went along with her I was ok.

Paula Page:

You heard my tickets were refused, right? I had the confirmation email too. Only tickets from secondary companies should have been turned away. It was a joke. People screaming at the box office staff. Inconsistent too. Letting people in after 8pm even after like me they had paid out for new tickets. Shambolic. And stub hub tickets turned away when there was stub hub machines inside the O2 to collect tickets from. All for outlawing third party sites but private purchases with confirmation emails should not be refused.

 

~~~

So what really did happen? Yes, there are some unhappy people out there and yes this was a shock to the British fan community. But could this have been avoided? Yes!!! So let’s talk about how:

Ticket anxiety, we’ve all been there. We know exactly how it feels to be sat waiting for the clock to tick round whilst you wear out your index finger constantly pressing F5. And what happens, to all of us, we get to the booking page and scan the details clicking all the boxes with that pesky 5 minute countdown staring at you in the corner threatening to release your tickets if you don’t complete your transaction in time, not reading anything you just need to get to the next page as QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Click click, bish bash bosh. Well done, you’ve just secured tickets to that gig you and your mates have been talking about for months. What some people don’t realise is they’ve just missed all the important ticket information, T&C’s and some great advice.

Don’t panic, this is normal behaviour. You’ll receive plenty of updates from the venue and ticket vendors (the official ones of course) in the lead up to the event via email and through social media.

Update from Axis:

Ticket T&C’s on O2 website:

Shit! You’ve already sold your ticket to someone as you’re no longer going. Ohhh, it will be fine, these restrictions have been floating around for donkey’s years and nobody ever checks. ‘ve even got into Glastonbury on someone else’s ticket before.

Problem

Having T&Cs and security checks in place but they aren’t enforced by the venue in the past

The date gets closer and you log into Twitter to see there’s plenty others in the same position as both buyers and sellers. Ahh, don’t worry about it. It’ll be fine. The venue and ticket vendors are sticking to their word explaining there will be ID checks and ticket holders could be refused entry. But they say this and and it very rarely happens.

Friday 15th September – Parsons Green tube bombing

Of course the venue will be increasing security and I’m pleased about that. We all are, right? They kindly emailed us all to let us know and asking us to allow extra time (yes, yes I know, we’ll come back to this email later on). Now, bearing in mind it’s a few days before the gig and it’s a Tuesday which is a normal working day for most people. How many of us actually allowed extra time and weren’t the ones rushing down the Tube line, tearing our office shirts off to reveal our favourite band T’s and hoping you make it in time to catch at least a few tracks from the support? Okay probably some of you, let’s not tar everyone with the same brush here. It just wasn’t possible for a large majority and nobody could help that. Kids had babysitters sorted, husbands had got a meal ready in the oven, and you’ve already booked your train and even plane tickets. There was a high volume of fans that hit the entrance queues at the same time causing grid lock. Security struggled and people were still queuing outside when the support band had started (finished in some cases).

Problem

The venue didn’t provide enough security staff to account for extra security checks and an influx of gig goers all in one go. Opening the doors earlier to keep a consistent flow of arrivals would really have helped.

Beep, beep, beep, eeh-ohh ticket declined! These poor people that have bought tickets from secondary ticket sites are left stranded as they have no ID to match the name of the ticket. But that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Especially when you receive this advice from StubHub

Response from StubHub after a worried fan queried the ID checks with them:

Of course these fans didn’t know you had to have ID as the secondary ticket sites didn’t share this little gem, did they? Yes you’ve seen advice on social media but you’ve spent £250 so best just give it a go, right?

Well there’s this ‘thing’ that exists, it’s called:

Consumer rights act- secondary ticketing

https://www.businesscompanion.info/sites/default/files/The%20sale%20and%20resale%20of%20tickets_BIS_GUIDANCE_SEP15.pdf

Skip to section 9 and you’ll see this:

Section 9

This restriction (on cancellation and blacklisting) will always apply unless the event organiser has met two conditions:
i. It must have been clearly set out as a term of the contract under which the original buyer purchased the ticket from the event organiser that cancellation of the ticket and/or blacklisting of the seller may occur as a consequence of that ticket being resold or offered for resale.
ii. (The term of the contract under which the original buyer purchased the ticket from the event organiser must not be unfair – see also Para 15. This is a significant requirement. Contract law ordinarily allows a purchaser to transfer to someone else what they have bought. Terms that prohibit resale are considered to be open to scrutiny for fairness and therefore must meet the principles of fair and open dealing, ensuring that their substance, expression and use respects consumers’ legitimate interests. Those terms which are not fair cannot be enforced against a consumer.

This is letter from Karen Bradley Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

They are asking for us to report anything to Citizens Advice so that they can take action. They talk a great talk, but can they do the walking too? So let’s give them something to work with here, get reporting!

Problem

The secondary ticket market disregarded government guidelines and withheld important information from customers whilst charging unfair prices for the privilege

Now this is the thing, yes you got it, the email. A simple edit to an outgoing email template cost the O2 some serious embarrassment. Whilst they were supporting these “no ID no entry” rules they were also emailing the same ticket holders encouraging them to sell there tickets via their partner website StubHub if they were unable to attend. I’m lost for words here, seriously?

Problem

The O2 mislead ticket holders and encouraged using partner site to sell on tickets

The venue then realised their complete cock up and started letting people in anyway.

If you’ve made it to the bottom of this article then, firstly, congratulations. Secondly, I hope this gives a fair account of the events of that night, none of this was the fault of the band or their management. It is a great shame for those that were refused entry and had to go home. This whole situation could’ve been avoided with some transparency and honesty which is something secondary ticket sellers such as Viagogo and StubHub do not entertain.

It’s really not hard, we’re not asking for much.

1. You buy a ticket from an authorised seller.

2. You receive an e ticket with a unique barcode on.

3. You discover you can’t go.

4. You log into your account and enter a new name and new email and, boom, you’ve transferred your ticket to someone else.

5. Your original ticket is cancelled (using the unique barcode) meaning you can no longer gain entrance to the event – no more ‘this person has already entered’ when you get to the turnstiles.

6. Buyer receives new e ticket with their name on allowing them to enter with matching ID.

This would also work if you wanted to gift tickets

Does this sound like rocket science? I don’t think so….

This may not have been a great experience for some but it’s a strong solid step in the right direction. Things will change, I am sure but not without a hard prod with a big stick every now again just like this.

The band put on an epic show and the venue finally filled up and the queues died down (Mainly) just in time for an anticipated 3 hour set.

Feel free to comment below, would love to hear your experiences and ideas on ticket touts and the secondary ticket market.

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