Bank steps in to refund elderly woman’s scalped ticket

A random act of kindness scuppered by ticket scalpers has been set straight.

Shirley Frater’s bank has reimbursed her for two tickets she bought on Viagogo, a website where people can resell theatre or concert tickets.

One of the tickets Frater bought, to a Foster and Allen gig at Blenheim’s ASB Theatre, was a fake though, forcing the 78-year-old to shell out for more.

She bought the tickets for a man who did odd jobs around her house, and in the wider Motueka community, as a way of saying thanks.

Frater initially contacted the Bank of New Zealand in March to find that, although sympathetic, the bank could not refund the purchase as her notification exceeded their zero liability policy timeframe.

These policies meant individuals who encountered fraudulent transactions had to inform their bank within a limited time period or be stuck with the charges.

But after Frater’s story appeared on Stuff, Frater said she received a call from her bank with good news.

“A man rang to say that the bank reviewed my phone call to them from March, where I explained the situation I was in at the time, and said I’d been given the wrong information,” Frater said.

“I was eligible to get my money back. It was so emotional, to know that something could been done.

BNZ declined to comment.

The Commerce Commission was investigating the Swiss-based Viagogo and last month advised consumers “to seriously consider” whether buying tickets through the site was worth the risk.

The commission received 21 new complaints over a single weekend at the start of March, relating to a number of recent and upcoming events and concerts including Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain and Bruno Mars concerts.

The commission had received 228 complaints about Viagogo.

Frater urged other victims of online fraud to come forward.

“So often we’ve been walked over, so people need to challenge things,” Frater said.

“This experience just shows how being vocal can bring about change.”

New Zealand Bankers Association chief executive Karen Scott-Howman recommended people checked out online sales websites before making purchases.

“If you haven’t used the site before, or aren’t sure they’re a reputable business, it pays to do some research,” Scott-Howman said.

“Before purchasing anything online, make sure you’re dealing with a business you can trust.

“If you think you’ve been taken in by a scam, contact your bank immediately.

“The sooner they know, the more likely they’ll be able to help you.

“For example, if you don’t receive the goods you’ve purchased by credit card, or if they’re faulty, you can request a chargeback and have your purchase refunded.

“Netsafe also provides useful information about online fraud, including ticket scams,” Scott-Howman said.

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