PORTLAND, Ore. — Typically, 78-year-old Addriene Hafner’s adult children take her to the Oregon Symphony Gospel Christmas concert.
This year, the Wilsonville resident wanted to buy the tickets. It was her treat to herself.
She went online and it appeared that tickets for the Christmas concert were going fast. She’d have to pay top dollar.
Two tickets for the Gospel Christmas at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, along with service charges and special delivery, added up to $1,023.
"I thought, ‘Boy this is really, really terrible,'” explained Hafner. “But then I thought, ‘Well maybe that's how much the tickets were when my kids took me.'”
Hafner didn’t realize she was buying tickets from a third party website called TicketOffices.com. She paid roughly 20 times the face value for the balcony-level tickets. A search of the Oregon Symphony website shows the same tickets are available for $35-$48.
“It looked very similar to the Oregon Symphony website,” she said. "I had no idea. I thought this was just the way to go to get tickets.”
The website TicketOffices.com offered no returns or refunds. All sales are final.
KGW reached a representative from All Access Tickets by phone. The Beverly Hills-based company said it posted Oregon Symphony Gospel Christmas concert tickets on TicketOffices.com.
A man named Alex, who declined to provide his last name, was unapologetic. He said customers should shop around.
“The first stop should be the box office,” explained Alex of All Access Tickets.
Consumers can avoid getting overcharged or paying excessive service fees by going directly to the venue website.
Cybersecurity experts say consumers should be cautious of clicking or even hovering over flashy-looking ads or links. You should also check the address of wherever you are shopping to make sure you are on the website of the actual company or venue, not a similar looking site.
“Make sure you understand who the merchant is,” explained Dwayne Melancon of Tripwire. “Some of these people, if you don't recognize them, may be just out there baiting you to try to harvest your information.”
Hafner is contesting the charge for symphony tickets. She hopes her credit card company will refund the money.
“I suppose, it’ll cost me $1,000 to learn never to trust another site. Be more cautious,” she said.