Online Ticket Seller SCAMS— Viagogo EXPOSED

Connor Williams
3 min readFeb 21, 2017


We’ve all been scammed in one way or another in our life time. Now, more and more people are being scammed every day online.

Whilst freelancing on a Tuesday morning, my younger brother messaged me on Facebook asking me to buy some tickets to see Future Islands on his behalf for our mother’s birthday, “their only £40 for two tickets” he said.

How I was scammed

Being a web developer, I should have been wiser. In short, just like thousands of other people, I fell for the “scarcity” approach created in their user journey.

Viagogo just like many other ticket sellers are modern professional con artists. Many e-commerce websites use psychology to persuade you to buy, Viagogo have taken it too far.

Viagogo’s Mind Games — The fear of losing out

A very common technique used in e-commerce is creating “urgency”, the aim is to give the user the fear that they are going to lose out with what’s on offer.

Misleading price point on Viagogo

Here’s what Viagogo do:

  1. As per the image above, they make it seem like you are buying 2 tickets for the single price stated (probably illegal, false advertising)
  2. “Last 2 tickets left!” Makes you rush into their checkout and get this great (misleading) offer.
  3. Once you click buy, you will be manipulated with plenty more “scarcity” tricks. BUT — they update their pricing in the basket.
  4. This ensures they are abiding by the law, they are now showing correct ticket costs, booking fees and other extra costs. BUT — most of us still buy, because we are being bombarded & persuaded by so many urgency messages, we completely miss the updated price in the basket.

Urgency overload

Throughout buying on Viagogo’s website, you are faced with messages and alert’s (most of them fake) that make you feel you are going to lose out, which in return makes you want to secure the tickets as fast as possible. Here’s some I saw:

  1. A fake queue
  2. 213,965 other people are viewing these tickets
  3. These tickets will no longer be reserved in: 10:00
  4. Tickets to the event are limited
  5. Less than 2% of tickets remaining
  6. Other people want to buy these tickets
  7. “LAST CHANCE!” heading
  8. All tickets will be sold out in x amount of time — Tickets will be more expensive tomorrow
  9. A timed “Don’t miss out!” popup overlay
Misleading urgency messages and alerts on

A lot of e-commerce websites will use a couple of the techniques shown above and they can very often be accurate and an effective selling technique.

Viagogo seem to be lying in their scarcity messaging, misleading users with their pricing and overwhelming it’s users with the urgency they create.

Let’s stop Viagogo

Viagogo and other similar sites have scammed hundereds if now thousands of people. If you are scammed, you can’t get a refund, you can’t contact them, you can’t really do much —it’s daylight robbery.

Sign this petition if you have had a similar experience with Viagogo or any ticket seller’s to make them review the usability and fairness of their site.

How to avoid being scammed

If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is

Although it may be hard not to rush when you are being counted down, take your time and keep a close eye on the total amount at every stage of the checkout, catch them out before they catch you!

Pay by credit card or PayPal

In most cases, you will have more of a chance of getting a refund if you pay with credit card or PayPal as you can raise a case and have your money refunded by them (the payment handler).

Check reviews

Always check to see if a company is reputable, if only I had quickly Google’d Viagogo reviews, I would have found this website which shows hundreds of people all being scammed.



Connor Williams

I focus on creating stunning brands, intuitive user interfaces and optimised user experiences for startups and established companies across the UK.