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STAR’s advice on ticket buying

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 10 June 2019, Last Updated 10 June 2019

Going to the theatre is an exciting event; stepping into a beautiful venue, being a part of the electric atmosphere and watching a whole new world play out before your very eyes. With so much to look forward to, it can be easy to get distracted and buy tickets from a fraudulent seller who leaves you out of pocket and with nothing to show for it. Fraudsters will sell you tickets that don’t arrive, are fake or need ID of the original purchaser, leaving you outside in the cold while the show goes on without you.

Ticket fraud is a continuing problem, with over 4,000 reports of ticket fraud reported between 1 April 2018 – 30 April 2019, worth £1,654,888. That’s an average of £365 per victim!

With summer plans on the horizon, it’s never been more important to take care when buying theatre tickets. So how can you be sure that where you buying from is legit? Well, if you see the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers logo (or STAR for short!), it means you’re in safe hands. And just to reassure you, Official London Theatre is indeed a member of STAR!

STAR is a self-regulatory body for the ticket industry and is approved by the government to help resolve disputes. Buying from a STAR member ensures you’re dealing with a company that has signed up to a strict Code of Practice and that you’ve got somewhere to turn to if anything does go wrong.

STAR are more than aware of ticket fraudsters, in fact, this week they’re partnering up with Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, to highlight the issue and share their top tips for avoiding ticket scams. This includes:

  • Ensure that the website has a landline phone number and full postal address.
  • Avoid using sites that just have a PO Box or mobile number.
  • Double check the web address (fake websites with similar names to genuine ones are used by fraudsters).
  • Make sure the web address starts with ‘https’ and displays a locked padlock icon in the address bar.
  • Avoiding paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal offer greater protections against fraud.
  • Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site.
  • Being wary of unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering unbelievably good deals on tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, advises: “To avoid disappointment, always buy tickets from an official event organiser or website and if you are tempted to buy from a secondary ticket source, always research the company or the person online before making the purchase. If you think you have been a victim of ticket fraud, report it to Action Fraud.”

Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers added: “Buying from a STAR member means you are buying from an authorised ticket supplier signed up to our strict code of practice. While we hope you never have to use it, this also gets you access to our approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service.”

For more information and guidance on buying tickets safely, you can read STAR’s top tips in this handy downloadable guide.

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If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

Monday 6 April: The following statement has been issued by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) on behalf of the major commercial West End theatre operators and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), to provide clear information for customers with regards to their theatre bookings and help ease the unprecedented strain on box offices and ticket agents in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen. We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets.

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

Theatre box office and ticket agents teams are continuing to work through the very high number of ticket orders affected by the cancellations. An average of 300,000 people a week attend West End theatres, so this a huge task. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that all our teams are now working remotely in response to government restrictions, many with reduced numbers of staff due to the virus, and this will be adding to the time it will take us to process your order.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.