'I'm devastated, they're devastated' - Young family scammed out of Euro 2016 tickets
A young mum and her children were conned out of more than €400 in a heartless Euros scam.
Emily O’Sullivan from Cork worked and saved for two months to buy tickets for her two boys to see Ireland play against Belgium in Bordeaux.
She saved for a holiday for her and her four kids to visit France but her trip has been ruined after discovering the online ticket company Europeanchampionship.com was a scam.
“I’m devastated, they’re devastated. I’ve been working extra shifts at work since we heard Ireland was playing,” she told Independent.ie.
Emily paid €415 for her two sons Darah (17) and Byron (11) and was planning to take her two girls Isabella (9) and Heidi (7) to Disneyland Paris.
She said the 10-day trip to France for the family was their first holiday since her separation four years ago.
She said she tried at first to get the tickets through UEFA but was “unlucky”.
“I went on Google to see if I could find tickets and came across a website that looked great. After emailing and calling them several times, I paid for the tickets over the phone with my visa debit card.”
Emily was told by Europeanchampionship.com that she would receive the tickets before June 6.
“The money was taken from my account but I had no tickets. I called the company but it rang out and the website had disappeared with its domain name up for sale,” she said.
“The two boys are devastated. My eldest boy turns 18 in September so it was going to be our last family holiday,” she said.
She explained: “We’re still going to go because we have the holiday booked. In the meantime, I’m still going to search for some legitimate tickets for the boys.”
A man called Keith rang into RTÉ’s Liveline to say that he had also been scammed by Europeanchampionship.com.
He said he started to get worried and contacted the company who assured him that the tickets would come, but now the website is gone and they can’t be contacted.
“We were told three weeks before the match that the tickets would be there. That’s why we were ringing them, hounding them to see where the tickets were,” said Keith.
He said that he spent €605 for three tickets but said he can’t see the tickets coming at this stage.
“At the time we were just Googling and they were third in the Google search. We contacted them and they were chatting away, they were emailing back and forth.”
He said the company appeared very “professional”.
Keith said he became worried when his credit card statement showed that the money had gone to another Latvian company, Blue Sky Hospitality also based in Latvia.
Another caller, Matthew said he had a similar experience when he booked one ticket with Europeanchampionship.com.
“I was assured that I would get my ticket by last Friday but it hasn’t arrived. I called them and spoke to a caller in the UK who assured me that they would be here by yesterday,” said Matthew.
Matthew was then told that the company was experiencing IT difficulties but his emails are bouncing back and the phone rings dead.
“It’s a lesson hard learned to only buy your tickets from official sites,” said Matthew.
He said he also found the site through Google and said: “Because it was appearing so high up in the Google list I think it gave it a bit of reliability, I was wrong about that.”
UEFA stressed that Euro 2016 tickets can only be bought legally through their site but that most tickets are gone by now.
The Consumer Association of Ireland warned: “At this stage you’re buying tickets off someone, you nearly need them to have their passport in front of you to prove it’s them.”
Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor for the Irish Independent has also warned fans to check the small print on insurance plans to ensure they're covered adequately as many policies have exclusions and get-out clauses.
"In the wake of recent terror attacks and plane crashes, we are calling on Irish holidaymakers to ensure they have taken the necessary precautions in advance of taking off to ensure they are covered by adequate insurance," Brian McNelis Director of general services at the Irish Brokers' Association told the Irish Independent.
*There is an official athletics website, europeanchampionships. com, which is in no way connected to the scam.