Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Cure fans caught in ticket fiasco

Robert Smith
The Cure will receive the Godlike Genius Award at the NME Awards

Some 500 fans of The Cure have been left out of pocket after a ticketing agency went bust, leaving them without tickets and no guarantee of a refund.

Fans who had booked tickets to The Cure Big Gig at The O2 on 26 February were informed by email this week that agency Trinity Street had ceased trading.

Concert promoters AEG Live said Trinity Street had failed to despatch or pay for tickets, making purchases invalid.

The Cure frontman Robert Smith told fans he was looking into the problem.

Complimentary tickets

AEG Live and NME suggested those affected apply directly to the administrators of Trinity Street, or their credit card company, for a refund, but added that "this may take some time and may well not be successful".

Organisers have offered them the chance to buy similar tickets to those originally booked - which are being held for them until 1800 GMT on Saturday.

Alternatively, promoters are offering a limited number of complimentary tickets in the less desirable, seated area at the rear of the former Millennium Dome.

"We will try to accommodate as many such requests as possible, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate everyone," the email said.

We cannot rule out the possibility of legislation if consumers continue to be disappointed by the ticketing market
Gerry Sutcliffe

Writing on The Cure website, Smith called on "all parties to be sympathetic, proactive and timely in effecting a better solution to this problem than 'buy what seats are remaining and hope you get a refund on your original purchase'".

But he said he had been told by promoters it was "very difficult" to access the relevant ticket-holders' details in the Trinity Street database.

"We regret the situation that fans affected by this have found themselves in," said a statement from AEG Live.

"We've contacted directly ticket-holders that purchased through Trinity Street to offer them the best alternative option we are able to.

"We, like many other promoters, were very surprised at this turn of events as Trinity Street had been in operation for a number of years. And, like these fans, we are also now attempting to recover unpaid monies."

Reputable sellers

NME also apologised for the circumstances, but stressed that only those tickets issued by Trinity Street were affected.

It comes a day after the government issued a consultation document looking at how best to improve the ticketing market for the benefit of consumers.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is urging ticketing companies to tighten up sales of tickets to prevent them being resold.

It has also been suggested that the Society for Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) might act as a beacon of good practice, ensuring customers were buying from reputable sellers.

"Most of the time tickets go to whoever is quickest online on the day they go on sale - and too much of the time that is touts who simply want to resell at a profit," said Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

"We cannot rule out the possibility of legislation if consumers continue to be disappointed by the ticketing market."

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