Excitement is building for the upcoming production of Phantom of the Opera, but a Winnipeg man is feeling disappointed after a bad experience buying tickets to the musical through a secondary seller.

Jose Ferreira bought four tickets online last month to the August 29 performance of the Broadway show at Centennial Concert Hall for his wife’s birthday.

When he looked at his credit card statement after buying the tickets, he realized he had been charged more than face value.

“I thought I was actually in our Winnipeg Ticketmaster site,” said Ferreira.  “I saw the price of the tickets, $112. I knew they were around there and that’s the tickets I chose, and I just bought them and moved on.”

Ferreira said it wasn’t until he looked at his credit card statement that he found out he had been charged $720 for the four tickets.

Tickets for Phantom of the Opera range from $35 to $120 each.  The maximum price for four tickets to the show through Ticketmaster would be $480 before taxes.

He said he not only paid above face value for the tickets, he bought from a U.S.-based company, and the exchange rate made the tickets even more expensive.

Ferreira said an online search led him to the secondary ticket-selling website, which to him appeared to be a legitimate place to purchase tickets.

“I was shocked that this happened to me, knowing that I use the computer every day,” said Ferreira.  “I simply wanted my tickets at face value.”

“I wanted to go the show.  It’s a fantastic show.  I want to pay the price. I just wanted the face value of that ticket.”

Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation CEO Robert Olson said secondary ticket sales are a prominent problem, but he said consumers can protect themselves by using the appropriate sites to buy tickets.

“I think quite frankly what happens is people are eager to buy tickets, and sometimes on the search engines the top site that pops up when you search concert hall, Phantom of the Opera in our case, or Ticketmaster, is not always the legitimate site,” said Olson.  “Our perspective is that we would direct people to go to our approved site, which would be centennialconcerthall.ca or ticketmaster.ca directly, or in this case Broadway Across Canada, which we would be one of the three approved venues to be able to get approved tickets.”

Broadway Across Canada has been in contact with Ferreira to help him resolve the situation.

Ferreira said he contacted the company he bought the tickets from and was told it has a no refund policy.

He still plans on going to the show and will be contacting his credit card company in an attempt to get the charges reversed.  He then plans to purchase new tickets for face value from an approved seller.

The Manitoba government promised in its throne speech last November to undertake a consultation with stakeholders to modernize and enhance consumer protection when it comes to secondary ticket sales.

A provincial spokesperson said the experience of individual consumers is helpful as the government continues to explore the topic and possible approaches to protect consumers.