Ed Sheeran: panic over unwanted concert tickets has started

Pricewatch reader query: Rules aimed at stopping touting have readers in a flap

After queueing for over 24 hours sisters Rebecca and Catherine Douglas and their friend Lauren Leahy were in jubilant mood after successfully getting tickets for Ed Sheeran's Phoneix Park shows.


It is almost a year before Ed Sheeran comes back to Ireland to play to 300,000 (and still counting) people in Cork, Galway and Dublin and already we are getting emails from readers in a flap.

“My children purchased three Ed Sheeran tickets at way over the face value on the Viagogo website on Sunday evening last,” started a mail from a reader called Angelina. The tickets cost a pretty eye watering €680, but that is not the worst of it.

“We did not realise this until it was too late but we will probably be unable to use them as they are all under 16 and will not be allowed into the standing area. Is there anything we can do to cancel this transaction?”

Angelina says that she has tried to contact Viagogo by telephone and email with no joy. She has even sent a query through to the press office “as this is the only email I can see on the website and I am desperate. I have put the tickets back on their web site on re-sell platform but we still stand to lose a lot of money.”

We don’t have much by way of good news for Angelina. Viagogo is a ticket resale website much like the Ticketmaster-owned Seatwave (it should be pointed out that no tickets for the Ed Sheeran concerts are selling on that site).

Even if Angelina had been able to make contact with Viagogo, we can’t imagine anyone there would have entertained her query. They would have no doubt pointed out that they do not sell the tickets merely facilitate their resale and she would have been told that it was, ultimately, her responsibility to make sure that – if she was going to use the service – she made sure to buy tickets that were appropriate for her family.

*UPDATE. Friday 6pm: Aiken Promotions have been in touch to say that under 18s attending the concerts must be accompanied by an adult. Under 16s, once accompanied by an adult and all holding valid general admission tickets, will be allowed onto the pitch.

Even selling those tickets will be problematic as, anticipating problems with touting, Aiken Promotions and Ticketmaster have jointly introduced new rules for the concerts which will make life considerably more difficult for touts – and, inevitably, non-touty folk who just wish to sell on tickets they bought.

The changes are best illustrated by another mail we got from a reader by the name of Carmel. “My husband and I (along with zillions of other parents) bought tickets for the Ed Sheeran concert in Cork for our daughter,” her mail starts. “We were fortunate enough to obtain not only two but four tickets, (two for Friday night and two for Saturday night. We assumed we could give one set of tickets to a relative/friend. However, both sets of tickets are in my daughter’s name and we’ve since discovered that the lead booker must be present for the event, which means she must attend both concerts which she doesn’t want to do!”

Carmel did look at the terms & conditions – after the fact – and saw a line which reads “Please note: People are asked to purchase tickets for their own use and attendance to this event.”

She says she has tried to ring Ticketmaster to discuss what her options are “but it is next to impossible to get to speak to anyone. They just keep referring me to their FAQs. Is there anything I can do at this stage or do I have to just accept that I am down €175 with two extra tickets to spare? I get that they are trying to clamp down on ticket touts etc, but I am certain there are a lot of people in the same boat as myself!”

Well, the good news is that all is not lost for Carmel. She is right in saying that Aiken Promotions and Ticketmaster have introduced the new rules in order to make life difficult for touts – and they deserve much credit for that, Lord knows they get enough flak when tickets are sold at vastly inflated prices – but neither Ticketmaster or Aiken want to make things impossible for people in Carmel’s situation.

We contacted Ticketmaster and a spokesman said: “If you bring a copy of the credit card that was used to make the booking along to the show, that will be fine.”