Illegal ticketing websites

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

When you buy a ticket online for a sporting, music or theatre event, you need to make sure you are using a genuine site. There are some ticketing scams which pretend to supply online tickets for popular events. These sites will take your money but not give you a ticket.

This page explains what you can do to check a site is genuine and what to do if you buy from an illegal site.

How to check a ticketing website is genuine

You can find out if a ticketing website is genuine by:

  • looking at the type of tickets sold – be suspicious if they are for events that have sold out or haven’t officially gone on sale. You can often find out when tickets go on sale from press, radio or TV promotions

  • looking at feedback about the website or company - enter its name into a search engine to see if there are comments from buyers about whether they have received tickets

  • checking contact details for the website - there should be a landline phone number and a full postal address. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. These addresses and phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace

  • use a site that has a red, black and white kitemark provided by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticket industry. You can find a full list of STAR'S members on their website.

  • using football club official websites to buy football tickets. Contact the football club to get the official website address if you’re unsure.

What you can do if you’ve bought a ticket from an illegal ticketing website

If you think you’ve bought a ticket from a scam website, you should report it to the police. You can also report it via the action fraud website, at You may not get your money back, but you can try and prevent this site being used by others.

You can also contact the professional associations for ticket sellers, so they are aware and can prevent this happening again.

If you paid by card

If you paid for the ticket by credit card, the credit card company may be jointly responsible if the ticket seller breaks their contract with you. As long as the ticket cost over £100, you may be able to claim your money back from the credit card company.

If you paid by a Visa or Mastercard debit card, you may be able to ask for a refund under their chargeback scheme. You will need to contact the card company to make a claim.

Claiming money back through the courts

If you can’t get your money back any other way, you could try making a claim through the courts. It might be possible to claim for your money back for the ticket costs as well as loss of enjoyment.

However, bear in mind that it may be difficult to trace the seller. You will need an address for the owners of the site that sold you the ticket to take them to court

More about taking someone to court

Next steps

If you need more help

Other useful information

Action Fraud

Use this site to report illegal ticketing websites.


Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)


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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020