Music Fans Lose Out Again As Ticketing Sites Are Shut Down

(Guardian) – FOLLOWING AN INVESTIGATION, the government has stepped in to shut down two ticket websites amid fears that large numbers of music fans may have been left out of pocket.

Guardian Money revealed that the two firms behind theonlineticketshop.com and theonlineticketexchange.com have been put into provisional liquidation “on the grounds of public interest”.

It is thought hundreds of people have handed over money for tickets which they have not received. They have been warned by the Insolvency Service that “unfortunately, the company does not have any tickets to distribute to customers”.

Events that the websites had been heavily promoting include Tuesday’s London 02 Arena show by Paul McCartney, rock band Muse’s UK stadium gigs next autumn, Alicia Keys’ May 2010 UK tour, and US rock outfit Pearl Jam’s London Hyde Park gig next June.

In recent months the companies have been busy issuing press releases and penning blogs in a bid to raise their profile. A press release promoting the Pearl Jam show, and containing a link to one of the websites, was issued on 9 December – the day the official receiver was appointed provisional liquidator following the presentation of a “winding-up petition” by the business secretary Lord Mandelson.

It is not yet known how many people have lost money, or the sums involved, though a spokesman for the Insolvency Service says it received 250 emails from potential ticket purchasers in the space of four days.

The two companies put into provisional liquidation are the Online Ticket Exchange, based at 85/87 Borough High Street in south-east London, and Ticketmate, based in Grays, Essex.

A Companies House search reveals that the director of both is Tony Triphook, 55, of Grays.

There was also bad news for people who have sold event tickets to the websites. The Insolvency Service spokesman says, based on current information, “the company does not have any funds to pay for those tickets, or any tickets to return to customers. Should the company be wound up at the hearing on 28 January, customers with outstanding claims will be classed as creditors in the liquidation proceedings”.

However, those who paid by credit card may be able to get a refund from their card company.

Several consumer websites and fan forums feature comments from people who say they have been let down by the firm. On the review centre, one fan says he handed over £450, “and now they have been closed down. I’m sure that cash is gone”. Another says: “I was desperate to see Kiss in May 2010 and bought tickets for me and my dad totalling £100.”

Ticketing expert Reg Walker, operations director of the Iridium Consultancy, says he believes “a significant number” of people have been left high and dry. He praised the work done by the companies investigation branch of the Insolvency Service, and said: “It needs to be backed up by a criminal investigation by police and the Serious Fraud Office into the activities of past and current directors.”

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Bob Moves Into The Catering Business

Bob Spink's business card - frontBANDWAGON BOB, our local MP, is out and about again, according to the Yellow Advertiser.

In a piece entitled Raise Cash For Local Church With A Curry the accompanying photograph shows a grinning Bob helping to hold up a photo-card advertising a Curry Night at the Tandoori Parlour, in Hart Road, Thundersley, on Oct 21st from 7.30pm.

All money raised will apparently go towards St Michael’s Church, in St Michael’s Road, which was built as a First World War arms hut, without the proper foundations, and is now in desperate need of repair.

Tickets are £12 per head, and those wishing to attend just need to ring: 07957 543648.

Bob Spink's business card - backThat is definitely what it says in the Yellow Advertiser. Click the link if you do not believe me!

All they need to do is phone: 07957 543648.

I have now checked this number several times; but it is what it is: it is Bob Spink’s personal mobile number.

That is ‘cash’ is it, Bob?..

Don’t Be Too Late! And Behave Yourselves!

(Basildon Recorder) – PARENTS OF PARTYING STUDENTS AND TEENAGERS will be pleased to know that Regal Busways is to launch a Festival Leisure Park bus service next Friday, which will run between 7pm and 5am on Friday and Saturday nights.

The firm said it accepts a number of the early morning passengers are likely to be drunk; but it has installed CCTV on the number N1 and N2 buses, and a protective screen to shield drivers from abuse.

Buses on the service will run between Canvey and the leisure park and between Brentwood and the venue, for a trial period of four months. Passengers will be able to buy a £7.50 ticket which they can use as much as they want on the bus routes over the course of a night.

Stops include Canvey, South Benfleet, Pitsea, Felmores in Basildon, Laindon, Great Burstead, Billericay, Hutton and Brentwood.

The last bus to leave the leisure park for Canvey will be at 4.15am.

You can download the .pdf timetable for the N1 and N2 Bus Service here.

… (Basildon Recorder, 05/02/2010) – Bas Vegas late-night bus service is withdrawn

Bob Bounces On The Bingo Bandwagon

Bandwagon Bob

Bandwagon Bob

(Hansard) – TUESDAY AFTERNOON PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY for our local MP, Bob Spink, to voice his support for the country’s Bingo operators (whom would have you believe that they perform a social service).

It is true that many islanders, and others, enjoy meeting with friends for a game of tombola at the local bingo club; but to suggest that those halls’ operators are there to perform some sort of charitable service is taking credibility too far. Like any other commercial operator: their purpose is to make a profit and, like any other form of gaming, profits from bingo can be very large indeed.

What a hard time those operators are having. The fact is that, in most halls, one-armed-bandit profits are sufficient to pay for all staff costs and overheads. All the take from ancillaries (like the bar and buffet — not to mention the cash and prize-bingo installations) can be shared-out among the company’s shareholders. And all the participation fees (that’s right, just look for the ‘charging period’ notice in their foyers) can ensure that management bonuses are met — and pay for those lavish annual meetings.

The bingo industry is so hard pressed that, over the last six years, the government has reduced its tax bill from 35% to just 22%. So what are they crying about?

Well, it all comes down to admissions. Fewer people are attending bingo sessions because of the financial predicament the country finds itself in. People do not have the kind of money the bingo halls expect to relieve them of each time they play. And here lies the crux of the problem…

The bingo proprietors have been so greedy over the years in the amount of ‘participation fees’ they charge, that the prize money on offer, in many cases, no longer warrants the cost of playing the game. A strip of six may cost £15, and the prize money on offer may be no more than £5 a line or £10 for the full-house.

The bingo industry does not need help: it needs to wake-up and smell the coffee. Reduce your participation fees; put the money back into the prize-board where you have stolen it from — and start to attract custom, as was once the case, by offering decent prize money.

And stop trying to promote yourselves as social clubs, as a justification for such low payouts. Admit that you are, in fact, ‘member only clubs’ — which is the only way you can obtain a gaming license.

Oh yes… Hansard quotes Bob Spink as saying: ‘I thank the Minister for her answer. She and the whole House understand the social importance of bingo to our communities, and that the business of bingo is a caring and a good business. Will the Government keep the taxation of bingo under review in future Budgets, to ensure that it is taxed fairly given its social function?’

I don’t think so, Bob…

… (politics.co.uk, 16/07/2009) – Spink helps change the law (yet again) this time: Cheaper heating bills for the poor (Yawn… Don’t miss the disclaimer at the bottom of the page…)

… (22/07/2009) – 50 Days Of ‘Parliament’s Hardest Working MP: Bob Spink’

Michael Jackson Dies, Aged 50

Michael Jackson(BBC) – PARAMEDICS WERE CALLED to Michael Jackson’s Beverly Hills home at about midday, yesterday, after he stopped breathing.

He was pronounced dead two hours later at the UCLA medical centre.

The singer’s brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Jackson, who had a history of health problems, had been due to stage a series of comeback concerts in the UK, beginning on 13 July.

Speaking on behalf of the Jackson family, Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.

He added: ‘The family request that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time.

‘And Allah be with you Michael, always. I love you.’

Concerns were raised last month when four of Jackson’s planned comeback concerts were postponed; but organizers insisted the dates had been moved due to the complexity of staging the show.

A spokeswoman for The Outside Organisation, which was organizing the publicity for the shows, said she had no comment at this time.

The Guardian reports that fans who bought tickets for Michael Jackson’s sell-out O2 shows from agencies, or directly from the venue, should get a full refund, following news of the star’s death. But those who bought from private sellers on the internet could be facing losses running to thousands of pounds.

Ticketholders were left in confusion this morning following reports of Jackson’s death, as some ticket websites were still displaying details of his concerts.

The official Michael Jackson tour website continued to play a video promoting the shows and was still offering VIP packages at £790 a person for front row seats. It had, however, removed all tour dates.

Anticipating a deluge of customer calls, Ticketmaster’s customer service line played a recorded message advising customers to ‘await communication’ from the company regarding refunds.

It continued: ‘We understand this is an upsetting time for all Michael Jackson fans and we want to thank you for your patience in this matter. This call will shortly disconnect.’

However, it is widely expected that any ticketholders. who bought directly through sites such as Ticketmaster and See Tickets, will get the full cost of the ticket refunded. Fans, most of whom have yet to receive their tickets, will have to apply direct through those sites or the seller’s phone lines for a refund.

This morning the lines for See Tickets were jammed.

Good Company, Good Food – And The Chance To Solve A Murder!

EventDON’T BE AT A NOOSE END on Saturday, 11 July. Instead get along to the Canvey Methodist Church, in Waarden Road, where they are holding a murder mystery evening.

All budding sleuths should arrive at 5:45pm, for a 6:00pm start, and, provided your detecting skills are up-to-scratch, you should have solved the case by 8:00pm.

Tickets are just £5.00 — and the price includes a lavish ploughmans’ meal and dessert.

To be certain of your place on the jury, book your ticket now by phoning Eva on: 01268 683551.

Canvey’s Got Talent

EventTHE SECOND CANVEY’S GOT TALENT COMPETITION, based upon the Britain’s Got Talent TV show, will take place at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, this Sunday, June 14th.

All proceeds will go to Havens Hospices, which, last year, received £1,400.

… (Echo, 11/06/2009) – Show your talent

… (Echo, 18/06/2009) – Georgia wows judges to win Canvey’s Got Talent