Dozens of people who bought tickets for gigs by artists including Ed Sheeran through Viagogo claim the website is withholding thousands of pounds in refunds, after a “glitch” saw them overcharged.
Angry fans said Viagogo is ignoring complaints, leaving them out of pocket for weeks and fearing they will be unable to make ends meet this month.
Helen Meakins bought Ed Sheeran tickets as a treat for her children and husband after a difficult year including an illness that left her baby on a life-support machine. She thought she was paying £170, a sum she had saved over several months, but was charged £917.12.
In a letter to Viagogo she wrote: “If I pay that off then I have no idea how we’re meant to survive. I really don’t think Viagogo appreciate just what this is putting me, my family and others through.”
Some customers were told they are not entitled to a refund, while others were advised by the company to recoup their money by putting the tickets back on Viagogo for resale. The company, founded by American entrepreneur Eric Baker, will take a commission on any further resales.
The company admitted to what it called a “hiccup” earlier this month, telling consumer website MoneySavingExpert that customers would get their money back. Viagogo did not respond to the Guardian’s questions about the glitch and the refunds.
However, a Facebook campaign group set up to support those affected says it knows of at least £20,000 still owed.
The Facebook group,”Victim of Viagogo”, has gathered more than 50 members, while more have applied to join. Its founder, Claire Turnham, said she was quickly offered her money back after starting the group and complaining via social media, but said others are still waiting.
Customers said that as well as Ed Sheeran concerts they believed other events were affected, including Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight boxing bout with Wladimir Klitschko and concerts by U2, Craig David and Alejandro Sanz.
A spokesperson for Ed Sheeran said: “We are vehemently opposed to the unethical practices that occur in the secondary market.
“We are aware and deeply concerned about the websites in question and have urged all fans not to engage with them in order to avoid being ripped off with higher prices or, potentially, counterfeit tickets.
“Once again, we urge all fans to only purchase tickets through official vendors.”
Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns at consumer group Which?, said: “It’s outrageous that some people have been overcharged and not refunded for their tickets.
“Customers should not have to pay the price for a ‘website glitch’. Viagogo now has a duty to refund affected customers immediately.”
Jill Hutchison, a consultancy manager with the National Trust, bought tickets for her daughters’ birthdays two weeks ago. She was expecting to pay £180 but was told in a confirmation email that she had been charged £857.93.
“My husband and I are trying to be calm as we don’t want to upset the girls, but it is hard knowing that in two weeks the amount will arrive on my credit card bill and we have no money to pay.”
Other customers told the Guardian they have received no response from Viagogo.
The website has emerged as the most controversial firm in the hotly disputed secondary ticketing market, which campaigners say helps touts rip off fans.
The site was accused of “callous profiteering” last year after racking up huge profits on a charity concert staged by comedian Peter Kay to raise funds for cancer research.