February 18, 2013
While there are many reputable agents who buy and sell Wimbledon Debenture
tickets, there will always be “dodgy” ones out there operating on a scale
ranging from sharp practice to downright dishonesty which could result in some
painful and expensive disappointments. Fraudsters have found there is big
money to be made, and often the perpetrators get away with it. People can be
quite desperate and in a hurry to get a hot ticket and can drop their guard.
There are several websites operating which purport to sell valuable tickets
but are in fact taking people’s money and providing nothing in return. They
can appear and then disappear quite easily, and then reappear with different
names. Some are UK based, and others are based other countries.
Check that you are dealing with a real UK company. You can do this online
via Companies House – have they submitted accounts – are they trading? Go to
click on Webcheck. If buying from an individual, don’t be afraid to check
whether they are a debenture Holder or how they came by the tickets. If there
is no UK company, it is much harder to get your money back if you need to.
If they have a website, look up “WHOIS” (via
www.nominet.org.uk) and find out who they are. Are
they UK based? If not, then they may be well beyond the reach of the law.
A well designed website may not necessarily be reputable and some websites
copy the name, look and feel of established websites.
Operators might have exactly the same name as a reputable operator but with a
different suffix, eg .org.uk instead of .co.uk. They make look identical but
one may be reputable, the other just a clone which Is not.
Watch out for people who don’t have a landline and operate on mobiles only.
Do they have a real address? Will they provide a testimonial? How have they
come by the tickets? If they aren’t a real company, don’t have a real address,
don’t have a name, then how will you be able to find them?
If you are buying directly from a debenture holder you can call up the
Wimbledon Debentures Office and check if they are one or not. Don’t be afraid
to probe, its important!
Ensure that you have a full paper trail with the company via email or in
writing confirming that the purchase is complete. Is it clear how many tickets
are being bought, for which court and which day to avoid “misunderstandings” .
It is easy to think you are buying Centre Court tickets and end up with Court
No 3. Or that they are not actually Debenture Tickets and aren’t valid. Or
worse still, don’t exist at all! And if you are uncertain, don’t part with
cash or something that can’t be traced. You have greater protection if you pay
with a debit or credit card. And if the tickets are handed over in person,
check them very carefully and get a receipt for your money.
And make sure you do this every time. Avoid the classic sting after one or two
good transactions with an agent, corners get cut and the next one goes wrong.
It is perfectly reasonable to ask for a testimonial or reference. A good
reputable company should be able to provide at least a couple. Website
Testimonials are all very well, but they can be made up or simply copied from
other people’s websites.
Look people up on Google. Often look for the names under Blogs about
fraudulent operators. One useful blog is
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is, eg the price is much lower
than anybody else – be careful.
If you do buy through Ebay, make sure the whole transaction goes through
Ebay – transactions which are taken offline are not protected in any way.
Fraudsters often sell through Ebay. It is easy on Ebay to copy pictures of
valid tickets from other Ebay sellers and look legitimate. Fraudulent
operators can take over an ebay account and use it to sell goods. It can be
very hard to get Ebay to help you get your money back.
Please note that if you are a victim of fraud, it may be difficult to get
help. You can go to the police or your bank but redress and compensation can
be hard to come by.
Spread the word. Post it on a blog, Let us know. We may not be able to
sort your problem out, but it is always useful to build up the information
that we have, and if necessary put people on their guard.