Like thousands of cricket fans, at the last minute when Alastair Cook retired, my family decided to make a bid at the last minute to see him play at The Oval.
With just a few days until the start of the final test match against India, our only options were to buy tickets through a secondary ticketing site or buy a tout at the gates.
Both would be expensive and neither was ideal. Ultimately, we used the resale site Viagogo, to the best of our knowledge.
& # 39; Double-dipped & # 39 ;: Laura Lambert and family in The Oval. They paid Viagogo £ 434.55 for four tickets – including £ 93 & # 39; booking fee & # 39 ;, £ 5.95 & # 39; administration fee & # 39; and just under £ 19 & # 39; buyer VAT & # 39;
My brother took the lead and within a few minutes he had found a group of four tickets, for £ 79 each – not much more expensive than the nominal value of £ 65.
Only they were not really £ 79 each.
After all add-on costs were taken into account, they cost just over £ 108 each – a total of £ 434.55, including £ 93 & # 39; Booking Fee & # 39 ;, £ 5.95 & # 39; Administration Fee & # 39; and slightly less than £ 19 & # 39; buyer's VAT & # 39 ;.
My brother downloaded the tickets and we each had a print at the gate, because we arrived at different times.
Two of us first went inside and found our seats – a magnificent view from the Peter May stand.
About 20 minutes before the game began, a middle-aged man and his son arrived in our row. But instead of shuffling past us to find their place, they went straight for us.
The father – who had brought his son for his very first test competition – showed us his tickets and to our horror they were for our chairs, sold by the same person on Viagogo and with identical barcodes.
He told us: "It was a last-minute decision, so I went on Viagogo on Wednesday night and bought the two tickets.
& # 39; We paid £ 80 for each. I received that confirmation email that evening and downloaded and printed the tickets the next day. & # 39;
When we inspected the double tickets, we realized that we had been scammed. But even more worrying was the fact that my younger brother and another family member had not yet arrived, and may not be able to come in now.
Laura with one of the printable digital tickets. The FA, the Lawn Tennis Association and the Cricket Board of England and Wales have all appealed to Google to stop promoting the Viagogo
My brother ran off without problems, which meant that of the six people with four seats, five were in the ground. It seems that the scanners used by the stewards do not mark the duplication.
Just before 11 am the fourth member of our group – who was not aware of the problem – arrived at another gate, only to learn that he could not enter.
To his disbelief a very polite steward told him that the barcode of his ticket had already been used.
Fortunately, after explaining that he had traveled two hours to go to London, and three family members had already arrived with three of the four tickets in the joint booking, he was allowed inside.
Even though The Oval was caught on the rafters, we managed to sit on the wrong seats all day – exactly the ones we paid for.
But what if my family had arrived together and the father and son had been refused entry to the gate by a less understanding flight attendant?
In total, our four seats gained almost £ 600 on Viagogo, even though they were initially purchased for only £ 260 from Surrey County Cricket Club.
And we are not alone. This practice of sellers who have struck the same tickets twice – whether it's sports or music events – has become so common that it's double dipping & # 39; is called.
In total, the four seats gained almost £ 600 on Viagogo, despite being bought initially for only £ 260 from Surrey County Cricket Club
You just have to type Viagogo into social media to see thousands of complaints leveled on the ticketing site.
Just two weeks ago, the competition watchdog announced that he would take the Geneva-based company to court for ignoring consumer law.
The Authority for Competition and Markets said that Viagogo routinely fails to warn customers that there is a risk of being rejected from an event.
She added that the company also provides misleading information on the availability of tickets, which may mean that customers have quickly transferred to buy them. Others are offered tickets that the seller does not own and can not deliver.
Viagogo has also had problems with the advertising watchdog, while sports organizations such as the Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association and the Cricket Board of England and Wales have all called Google to stop promoting the company.
All too often, when you search for maps online, Viagogo appears first for the official site.
For example, on Monday morning tickets for an NFL American football game in Wembley appeared on Viagogo next month for more than £ 1,000 within hours after being offered for sale through official channels.
Consumer experts say that Viagogo's lack of upheavals at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee that sounds like live music last week, smacks to a company that does not take its customers seriously.
Fortunately we were not refused entry, but that's not what it's about. Viagogo has sold the same tickets twice.
Only later did we discover that Surrey County Cricket Club has its own official official Kia Oval ticket exchange, which sells unwanted tickets at no cost and without profit margins.
Last night a Viagogo spokesman apologized for the problem and noted that it is the sellers themselves who determine the ticket prices.
She added: & # 39; If a customer has problems with his tickets, as unfortunately happened in your case, we encourage them to contact us immediately on the hotline of the event day.
& # 39; We can often find replacement tickets immediately and in the rare cases that we can not do this, customers get a full refund. & # 39;
- Have you been a victim of viagogo? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org