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, and we have heard a few
stories from Debenture Holders who have had some difficult experiences with
them. Here are a few guidelines on protecting yourself.
Ensure that you have a full paper trail with the company via email or in
writing confirming that the sale is complete. Ensure that it is clear how many
tickets are being sold, for which court and which day to avoid
“misunderstandings” . Always send any tickets via Royal Mail Special Delivery
or a courier with tracking and insurance so they have to be signed for and
they don’t get “lost in the post”.
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.
If you are given a cheque, is the account in the name of an individual or a
company? Does the cheque name correspond with the company name? When you are
given a personal cheque from somebody claiming to be a company that is a
probably a bad sign. If you are given cash, then make sure you are in a safe
place and that you count your money slowly and carefully.
Check the company online via Companies House – have they submitted accounts
– are they trading? Go to www.companieshouse.gov.uk
and click on Webcheck. When selling to an individual, it is important to ask for ID and get
a copy and ask them to sign a proper receipt.
If they have a website, look up “WHOIS” (via
www.nominet.org.uk) and find out who they are.
Make sure it is a UK company. A well designed website may not necessarily be
reputable and some websites copy the name, look and feel of established
websites. Watch out for people who don’t have a landline and operate on
It is very easy to get confused with names, 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 is reputable, the other
may be a con.
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. A number of debenture holders were complaining
about a particular ticket agent in the summer – we googled them and found out
they were under investigation of fraud for a whole range of transactions.
Often look for the names of the companies under Blogs about fraudulent
operators. Check media reports.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is, eg the price is much
higher than anybody else – be very very careful.
If you do sell through Ebay, make sure the whole transaction goes through
Ebay – transactions which are taken offline half way through are not protected
in any way. Fraudsters often target Ebay.
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. Contact a consumer programme, 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