[Reader Steve Dool had an unfortunate experience that he’s brave enough to share with everyone. – AC]
I want to start this by saying I never thought I would be the victim of internet fraud. I don’t think anybody does, and yet here I am writing this.
Like many people, the news of Gord Downie’s diagnosis and prognosis hit my like a tonne of bricks. I certainly don’t want to downplay the struggle him, his close friends and family are going through, but I think most Canadian rock fans experienced some sort of shock over the news.
As I write this, I highly doubt anybody out there doesn’t know someone battling or has battled some sort of cancer. I specifically use the word battle because if you have ever witnessed someone go through treatment, you would know that is exactly what it is.
The most painful experience of my life has been watching someone close to me lose this exact battle earlier this year. It is awful and I wouldn’t wish it on my greatest enemy. Not even a ticket scalper or the scammer that took $600 from me because of my emotional connection to what could be the final Tragically Hip tour.
Live music and performances have always been a big part of my life. I am 28-years-old and the first major tour I attended was the Our Lady Peace “Clumsy” tour at the then Ottawa Civic Centre. I have been hooked on live music ever since and have tried to experience as much of it as possible. With that being said one of my biggest regrets is not seeing the Tragically Hip live. I scold myself because I have had so many opportunities, but always managed to come up with an excuse not to go. The most recent of which being their last Bluesfest performance that it poured rain. If only I could go back I would purchase a large umbrella and happily sit in the rain to avoid my current ticket fiasco.
When it was announced this could be the Tragically Hip’s last tour I made a conscious decision that I would be going no matter the cost. Of course, naively I thought the cost would be the face value of the ticket. Like so many other people, I was wrong.
I woke up the Monday before the general public sale with a presale code in my email. It has been a long time since I have experienced so much excitement over a single word “Machine.” In hindsight, I find it ironic that the password was “machine” when in all honestly it was probably a machine that took most tickets from under fans noses.
My common law spouse and I were primed and ready to go for the presale. We both had our phones open and watched the time count down to zero. The instant the timer hit zero we both clicked buy best available tickets, and like many other people we were totally shut out. I was disappointed but felt a glimmer of hope because they announced additional dates later in the day and the general public sale was still a few days away.
The immediate appearance of tickets on resale sites like StubHub made me sceptical. How can tickets be posted online in under a minute? Maybe it is possible, but my brain can seriously not comprehend the speed that tickets went up online for ridiculous prices.
Regardless of the initial outcome, I was hopeful because of the additional dates added and the fact that there would be another presale the next day. I waited for the Tuesday presale in the same way, watched the time count down to zero and clicked the button. I was too late once again. At this point, I was actually worried about my shot at getting tickets. If I couldn’t get tickets to the Air Canada Centre what were my chances of the smaller Canadian Tire Centre (still the palladium to me) or the K-ROCK Centre? Zero percent are my post ticket sales prediction.
Come Friday at 10:00 am I had my spouse, my mom, my best friend and myself all online and signed in to get tickets. Exactly like the presale we were all shut out and none of us got tickets. I felt slightly devastated but not completely defeated. Even if I had to pay above face value it would not be the end of the world.
I quickly placed an ad on Kijiji looking for any tickets to the closest venues to me, Ottawa or Kingston.Within a minute, I had a response.
Scammer: Still need Tragically Hip tickets for Kingston? I have 4 for $600 or $160 each.
Me: I’ll take them
Scammer: Where are you located? I’m in Sudbury. Please let me know if you want these for sure, they are section 112 Row 3.
Me: I’m in Ottawa and definitely want them.
Scammer: Would Ticketmaster transfer work, are you a serious buyer?
Me: Just need to figure out how to exchange. Yes, Ticketmaster exchange works.
Scammer: Well can transfer via Ticketmaster and payment via Interac e-transfer. Or direct with TD bank with my info. I can also email you an agreement. Ok payment via Interac e-transfer work? or direct and TD bank.
Me: That works, I am just at work now and have to coordinate with one other person.
Scammer: Well when will you know if you are taking them for sure, I have plenty of people texting me.
Me: I know for sure, I just own a sandwich shop in Ottawa and our lunch rush is about to begin.
Scammer: Ok. When are you able to purchase?
Me: Can I call you once the rush is over, probably be done by 1-130.
Scammer: I am at work, you will have to text me, if you are a serious buyer and taking them for sure, Ill tell others they have been sold.
Me: I am very serious, been trying since Monday. I am taking them for sure, 100%.
Scammer: Ok then I will hold these for you and I will immediately transfer them to you once payment is verified. What’s your name and email address?
Me: [email protected] Stephen Dool. Could you email a small agreement?
Scammer: Yes I can just let me know when you are ready to proceed and I’ll send the agreement then.
Me: Sounds good ill message you as soon as it all dies down here.
Scammer: Ok thanks and glad I could help you out.
Me: Thanks again, def a life saver.
Scammer: No problem. Hey, would payment with direct TD work with my account info? Let me know. Actually, payment via Interac e-transfer works best, I can’t leave work.
Me: I’m fine with e-transfer. I should be good now.
Scammer: Text me. I’m working. Email is [email protected]
Me: Ok can you send over an agreement, then I’ll send over the cash.
Scammer: Yes, I will, what’s your first and last name again?
Me: Stephen Dool. I have never done a Ticketmaster transfer. Have you?
Scammer: Yes I have. It’s very straightforward. Sending over agreement now.
Me: Ok. Sounds good.
Scammer: I sent the agreement here is a copy also. I Sxxxx Sxxx, agree to sell my 4 side-by-side tickets, for the Tragically Hip show in Kingston at the K-ROCK center, to Stephen Dool, in section 112, Row 3. These are all side by side seats for a total of $600 for all 4 seats. Also, with the agreement of payment, made via interact e-transfer, and once payment is verified I will immediately transfer the tickets, via Ticketmaster, to Stephen Dool, [email protected] Please let me know when you are doing this, and I will tell others they have been sold.
Me: Sending now.
Scammer: Ok let me know when it’s sent and what did you make the answer. Did you get it completed? Please advise.
Me: I am still working on it.
Scammer: Ok let me know when it’s sent.
Scammer: I will let you know when I receive.
Me: I will let you know the p-word when I get it.
Scammer: Ok thanks and once I have the password, I will immediately transfer the tickets.
Me: Did you receive the transfer?
Scammer: Takes 30-45 minutes, I will let you know.
Scammer: What’s the answer?
Me: (Gave him the answer)
Scammer: Ready to get this done, once I have the answer.
Scammer: Ok give me a few minutes, need to get my bank card.
Me: No problem.
Me: All good?
Scammer: Sending tickets in 5 mins or so, just booting up laptop.
Me: Sent yet?
Scammer: Can I do this at 4 as it’s not working from here, I am going to leave work to go home and send it where I know it will work 100%.
Me: Yeah, that’s fine as long as you send it at 4. Kind of sketchy, though, as you said it was a straightforward transfer.
Scammer: Well, I didn’t know it wouldn’t work from here, I know it will for sure at home.
Me: No problem, I look forward to hearing from you at 4.
Scammer: You will for sure.
Me: Home yet?
Me: Are you legit, what is going on?
Me: Ok I guess you scammed me?
They say hindsight is 20/20 and I will always accept my mistakes as my own. I was over zealous and thinking emotionally. In 9 out of 10 situations, this would not have happened to me. The absolute stupidity I feel is more punishment than the $600 that I lost. I am the type of person who agonizes over ever purchase and I research relentlessly for value. In retrospect I made an almost hilariously human error, I trusted.
I do not imagine this is a mistake I will ever make again. I contacted the police and my bank and they didn’t even want to report it. Apparently online transactions are “Buyer beware.”
So if you take anything from this please beware. Even if you send an email transfer to an email it is absolutely not going to be traced. This is all information available on google, but of course, I acted in haste and paid $600 for it. At the end of the day I feel even more fortunate because even though the money actually is important to me, I am not going to let it ruin my day or discourage me from buying hip tickets. (except by shady email transfer, again stupid, I know)
I am happy enough that even though I may not be able to attend the live show, I will see it on youtube, and at the end of the day is that the most awful situation I could imagine? Absolutely not.
I would really like to warn people to not buy tickets in an emotional state. Please do not let this happen to you.
All the best in your future ticket endeavours,
Steve in Ottawa
Meanwhile, props to Jesse Modz of 97-7 HITZ-FM in St. Catharines for screwing with a scapler. Read the whole story here.