Fans enjoy the Unite with Tomorrowland concert at Dubai Festival City indoor arena. Around 20 people who arrived at the venue were found to have fake or invalid tickets. Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Beware of buying concert tickets from unauthorised resellers as they may be fake, invalid or Photoshopped.

Ramandeep Garewal, a company director based in India, learnt this lesson the hard way after being refused entry at the Unite with Tomorrowland concert in Dubai on July 29.

Garewal flew all the way from Mumbai that weekend with his two friends for the concert to celebrate his birthday. But to his horror, he was told they couldn’t use the tickets they bought online from Viagogo, an online marketplace for ticket resale.

“The tickets to the Tomorrowland concert got sold out right away,” Garewal told Gulf News via phone interview from India. “I searched online and bought tickets on Viagogo, the first site that popped up. We booked three tickets and paid Dh1,500.”

But when Garewal and his friends landed at the event to get their concert wristbands, they were told the tickets were invalid.

Garewal ended up paying another Dh1,500 just so they could watch the concert.

But Garewal and his friends were not the only victims, said Cosmin Ivan, operations manager at Platinumlist, the official ticketing partner of the Unite with Tomorrowland concert.

“We even had visitors from the US, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, who booked their tickets through these platforms (Viagogo) and, to their surprise, found out at the venue that the tickets they had were fake,” Ivan told Gulf News.

Ivan said around 20 concertgoers were found to have fake or invalid tickets despite their constant warnings on their website and social media against buying from unauthorised reselling platforms like Viagogo.

Gulf News repeatedly contacted Viagogo for an official comment but received none.

Viagogo has been receiving bad press internationally for allegedly “ripping off” concert goers such as the hundreds of Adele fans who were turned down at the event venue in Australia in March for invalid tickets. A Daily Telegraph report in May said Viagogo is being investigated in Australia, the UK, the US and Switzerland.

Ivan said his company went as far as buying tickets from Viagogo to investigate the fraudulent resale of tickets and they found that the tickets they received were Photoshopped to look genuine. Ivan said tickets to UAE events sold on such reselling platforms are considered invalid because reselling tickets by unauthorised parties in the UAE is strictly prohibited under the country’s e-permit and e-ticketing regulations.

Ivan said Platinumlist is helping victims and teaching them how they could get their money back from Viagogo or from the bank “but it seems that the same story keeps happening”.

“We urge the public to buy only from the official ticketing partners of the event and not from the first website that pops up on their search engine. These reselling companies pay for a lot of advertising so they are the first to pop up in online searches.”

For Garawel, he said getting a refund from his bank in India will not be that easy as in Dubai. He urged others to learn from his mistake.

“If you’re buying tickets, please call up the event organisers and ask them what is the right platform to buy from. It’s just a call away. That’s the mistake we did. [Search engines] can also go wrong.”

How to steer clear of fake/invalid tickets

  1. Buy only from authorised ticket sellers.
  2. Do not buy from street scalpers as you will have no way to get your money back from them.
  3. Always check with the event organisers for any authorised resellers.