When Eva Romano realized the Coldplay concerts in Montreal were sold out, she did what many others have done when faced with the same situation — she went onto Kijiji to see if anyone happened to be selling a pair of tickets.
She found a listing and in April, met up with a man who sold her two $40 tickets for $100. He told her he worked with an American company that bought tickets and resold them.
Romano says she voiced her concern that the tickets were counterfeit, but the man told her not to worry and if there were any changes regarding the show, he would contact her. He handed her two printed tickets and she paid him $200 in cash.
"He made me feel like everything was very legit. However, that ended up not being the case," she said.
When she and a friend showed up at the Bell Centre gates Wednesday night, ready to attend the second of two shows put on by the British rock group, her tickets were rejected.
Tickets looked authentic
Romano said she was surprised when the tickets didn't scan, because while she had her reservations, the tickets looked like authentic ones she has bought in the past.
The person at the gate told Romano and her friend to head over to the front office and speak to someone there.
She was told the barcode on her ticket was actually for the Green Day show, which was in March.
The person in the front office told her to file a complaint with police, so she walked over to the nearest station, on Ste-Catherine Street at Bishop Street.
When she arrived, she was found a group of people in a similar situation to hers.
"As we were filing the report, more people were coming in," she said, adding some people she spoke to paid up $400 for their tickets.
Romano said it appears as though they all bought their tickets from the same person.
CBC News has learned that at least two of the concertgoers bought tickets through a company called World of Tickets after they found them on Kijiji.
CBC, however, cannot confirm World of Tickets knowingly sold fake tickets.
Calls to a number listed for World of Tickets went to voicemail.
A 2016 warning from Quebec's financial securities regulatory body, known by its French acronym AMF, cautions consumers from buying from a company called World of Tickets.
The AMF says the company "is not authorized to solicit Québec consumers."
The warning notes a similar advisory from the Nova Scotia Securities Commission.
Always a risk with resold tickets, police say
Montreal police spokesperson Const. Manuel Couture said so far, 17 complaints have been filed about fake tickets sold for last night's show.
As the investigation has just begun, it's still unclear whether everyone was duped by the same person, he said.
Couture said there is no such thing as zero risk when buying a ticket from another person, and advised concertgoers to buy their tickets directly from the promoter.
In a statement, Kijiji also urged people to exercise caution when buying tickets through the site.
It offered the following tips for protecting yourself when buying tickets:
- All transactions on Kijiji should be done in person and you should meet the seller in a secure public place.
- Complete the transaction on site at the event, in order to check the tickets before completing the transaction. If the sale is taking place in advance of the event, consider contacting the event organizers or venue to make sure they can check the validity of the tickets.
- Avoid purchasing electronic tickets, as they can easily be reproduced.
- Research online to gauge the market prices of the tickets you wish to purchase to make sure they are in line with others for sale. If a deal seems too good to be true, it is most likely fraudulent.
- Take time to think before making a transaction. If the seller is trying to push you to buy very quickly, it is often a red flag.