Tickets and events
It is always best to buy a ticket from the event’s official seller or from the venue. Check the terms and conditions to see what happens if something goes wrong, for example, if the tickets do not arrive on time or the event is cancelled.
Be very careful buying tickets from unofficial sellers. A law makes it illegal to sell tickets for certain events or venues for more than face value – see ‘ticket reselling and touting’ below.
If possible, pay for your tickets online with a credit or debit card. Be careful if the seller asks you to pay for the ticket by bank transfer, as this could be a scam.
Your ticket rights
When you buy any product or service, including tickets to an event, you should be given certain information to help you make an informed decision before you buy.
You should get:
- The name and address of the seller
- The total price, including any booking fees, credit card fees, delivery costs, taxes or any other charges
- The arrangements for delivery of the tickets
- If the right to cancel exists and the conditions and procedures for cancelling
- If you are allowed to resell the ticket above face value (see ‘ticket reselling and touting’ below)
- The complaints handling procedure if things go wrong
When you buy a ticket online, you should get confirmation of your purchase in durable format, such as a letter or email. Expect to get what you paid for, for example, the seat should be in the location advertised and your view should not be obstructed (unless this was clearly marked on the ticket). Read more about your rights as a consumer in Ireland.
Ticket reselling and touting
Ticket touting is the practice of reselling tickets through unauthorised channels, typically for more than face value (that is the price of the ticket that was charged by the official seller).
Selling tickets for more than face value
Since 31 July 2021, it is illegal to sell tickets for live events, matches, and concerts for more than face-value. The rules on ticket reselling and touting are set out in the Sale of Tickets (Cultural, Entertainment, Recreational and Sporting Events) Act 2021.
The law on ticket touting applies to tickets for designated events or events in designated venues.
A designated event is an event that causes significant demand, or where it is in the public interest to ban resale above original sale value. A designated venue has a capacity of 1,000 people or more.
Venue operators get designation by applying to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). DETE has a register of designated events and venues. Amateur sports clubs and registered charities exempt for tickets for fundraising events.
You could be fined up to €100,000 or imprisoned for up to 2 years if you sell tickets for live events above face value.
Information about ticket resale
When you buy a ticket for a designated event or venue, you must get clear information about the ticket. There are different rules for primary and secondary ticket sellers.
- Primary ticket seller: is the event organiser or venue operator, or someone authorised to sell tickets on the organiser or operators behalf
- Secondary ticket seller: is a person who sells a ticket that was originally sold by a primary seller (can be face-to-face or through an online auction website)
You buy from a primary ticket seller
When you buy a ticket for a designated event or venue, the primary seller must give you clear information that the ticket cannot be resold above the face value. This information must be on the ticket itself and in any ads promoting the event.
You buy from a secondary ticket seller
It is not against the law to sell tickets for a designated event or venue on a secondary marketplace, once the ticket price is at face value or lower. If you buy a ticket for a designated event or venue on a secondary marketplace, you must get information on:
- The original sale price of the ticket
- The location of the seat or standing area for the ticket
The operator of the secondary ticket marketplace must make sure that a ticket or ticket package is not advertised or offered for sale on its marketplace without the seller providing this information.
Buying tickets from unauthorised sellers
When tickets for an event are in high demand, it can be tempting to buy from unauthorised sources. These tickets may be available through secondary ticketing websites or from a private individual (either face-to-face or through an online auction website).
It is important to remember that when you buy tickets through unauthorised sources, you may have fewer legal rights if things go wrong. You have stronger rights when you buy tickets for a designated event or venue (see ‘Selling tickets for more than face value’ above).
When you buy from unauthorised sources, be aware that:
- Irish and EU consumer law generally applies to contracts between a trader and a consumer, and does not cover consumer-to-consumer deals
- There may be admission restrictions – some venues only allow admission to the person whose name is on the ticket (the original buyer’s name)
- If the event is cancelled or postponed, you could have problems getting your money back as any refund would be made back onto the original buyer’s card
- If you get the wrong, fake, or duplicated tickets, it could be hard to trace the seller and get what you ordered
- There could be a delay in getting the tickets, or you could be told they are no longer available
It is important to do your research and pay securely to avoid being caught by a ticketing scam. Only use websites that allow secure payment facilities, such as debit card, credit card or PayPal. Never send money directly through bank or wire transfer. Find out more about scams.
If you want to cancel
When you buy online, you have a general right to cancel without having to give a reason under the Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU (CRD) (pdf). However, this right to withdraw (known as the 14-day cooling off period) does not apply to certain leisure activities that take place on a specific date or period of performance. This includes ticket sales for concerts and sporting events.
You are not entitled to a refund if you change your mind about going to the event or you can no longer go. Your right to cancel depends on the trader’s cancellation policy. Check the terms and conditions of the contract and follow the cancellation procedure (if there is one).
There may be restrictions on whether you are allowed to resell the ticket to someone else. The ticket may be subject to conditions that it cannot be transferred to someone else and can only be used by the person whose name is on it. Some official ticket sellers have fan-to-fan exchange systems or partnership with other online ticket marketplaces. Check the ticket seller’s website for the terms and conditions of resale.
If the event is cancelled
When you buy a ticket, you and the seller enter into a contract. The terms and conditions should include information about refunds if the event is cancelled or there is a significant change (for example, a change of date or venue).
This means if an event is cancelled, it is up the seller to resolve the issue, for example, by rescheduling the event, or if that is not possible or is not suitable for you, by giving you a refund.
Protection for travel and accommodation bookings
If the cancelled event is abroad, you are usually not covered for any travel or accommodation costs, unless they were part of a package that included the ticket. Refunds for flights and accommodation costs are not the responsibility of the event promoter or ticket seller. Your rights to a refund depend on terms and conditions for each individual booking and if cancellation is allowed. If the terms of the contract do not allow cancellation, you may be able to claim through your travel insurance (if you have a policy in place).
However, if you booked a package holiday that includes a concert ticket and another travel service (such as flight or hotel or both), then you have stronger protections. Find more about package holidays.
If things go wrong
If you have a problem with a ticket that you bought from an authorised seller, contact the trader to give them the chance to put things right.
If you cannot resolve the issue, you can contact the following organisations for advice:
- Disputes with traders based in Ireland: Contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
- Disputes with traders based in other EU countries: Contact the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland
Find out more about consumer protection organisations.
Alternatively, you can take a claim against the trader using the small claims procedure.
Read about how to make a complaint.
The CCPC has more information on your rights when buying concert or match tickets.