AceShowbiz - Ed Sheeran's new ticket cancellation policy has been slammed by fans who were forced to fork out for new tickets and then chase refunds.
The "Thinking Out Loud" singer's promoters announced earlier this week (end May 27) that 10,000 tickets for shows in Britain and Ireland obtained by known touts or sold via resale websites like Viagogo had been declared invalid.
As a result, hundreds of fans turned up to his first tour date at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England on Thursday and found their tickets didn't allow them admission. Ed offered them the chance to buy new tickets at face value, but the policy has been criticised by those who fell foul of it as they had to pay for a new ticket and then seek a refund from resale companies.
"I was fuming," Samantha Dutton, who was taking her daughter Chloe to see Ed as a 21st birthday treat, told the BBC. "I paid £400 ($533) for two tickets, now I've got to pay £150 ($200) to go and see him, and then I'll get my money back within five days, apparently. If you haven't got a spare £150 to pay for your tickets again, then you can't get in - and it's my girl's 21st birthday."
Fellow concertgoer Yasmin Campbell called the situation "horrible" and added that although she had paid again, her brother and his partner had skipped the gig as they could not afford a new ticket.
Stuart Galbraith, the chief executive of Ed's tour promoters Kilimanjaro Live, admitted the cancellation of the tickets was "inconvenient" for fans but that his firm were helping out customers by offering them advice on how to get refunds.
"Everyone we've dealt with today, and we've dealt with hundreds, we've given them advice about how to receive refunds against their fraudulently traded tickets and we've sold them face-value tickets. So we've achieved what Ed wanted us to," he said.
The 27-year-old and his promoters began their crusade against touts last year after tickets for a London charity concert featuring Ed were sold online for prices up to $6,230 (£5,000) - almost 60 times their face value. In response he put strict identification measures in place for his U.K. arena tour last year and has brought in even stronger measures for his stadium dates.