UK consumers are crying foul after a Ticketmaster mess related to a concert taking place as part of the Coronation process for King Charles next month. Many were informed via email that they had won tickets through a “ballot” process run by the ticketing giant, only to later find out that they were out of luck and the event was sold out.

Adding insult to injury, several impacted fans say they had already booked travel or hotel reservations under the assumption they had tickets, and are now out of pocket for those expenses.

“It was a real sucker-punch,” says Aaron Gill, who told The Sun he had booked a £400 room moments after getting the ‘congratulations’ email. “It clearly states you have two days. My first thought was I need to sort accommodation. I rang my girlfriend and she was really excited. Then within ten minutes I got another email basically saying they’re all gone.”

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Multiple reports indicate that the communication from the ticketing giant was, at best, confusing and misleading. Recipients were first informed that they had been successful in the ballot. Then, “Tickets in this supplementary round are being offered to a randomly selected group of ballot winners on a first come, first served basis, so you will need to act quickly in claiming your tickets,” including a link to a button headlined: “How to claim your tickets now.”

The ‘lucky fans’ were also told they had 48 hours to claim their tickets until 12.00 on April 27 before they got released. But when they tried to purchase the tickets on Ticketmaster, they came across with a message, reading: “Tickets are currently unavailable from Ticketmaster. We’re unable to find tickets right now, please try again later.”

On April 25, Ticketmaster UK announced the sold-out on its Twitter account: “Tickets for the supplementary first-come, first-serve round of The Coronation Concert ballot have now sold out. Enjoy it in your own way next month, whether it’s in Windsor or at home with friends!”

The star-studded gig at Windsor Castle will feature Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Take That.

Another person who missed out on the chance to go to the concert, Zoe Kilbride, said: “Very misleading with the coronation concert tickets. Nowhere in the ballot process did it say ‘first come, first served’ – it said if you are successfully chosen in the ballot then you get tickets. You have conned a lot of people.”

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Matthew Knight, posted: “Disgraceful from @Ticketmaster – receive an email at 12:02pm saying I’ve won 2 tickets to the Coronation Concert in the ballot and then when you click to claim them they’re all gone. Told my family, friends and students in my lesson… Gutted @TicketmasterCS @RoyalFamily”

A Ticketmaster spokeswoman told the BBC: “Everyone who was successful in the two main ballot rounds for the Coronation Concert was offered a guaranteed pair of tickets, provided they claimed them within three weeks. Today, any unclaimed tickets were released on a first-come, first-served basis to those who had previously applied to the ballot and were unsuccessful. These inevitably went very quickly.”

Ticketmaster previously involved in similar ticket fiasco incidents where it was alleged to be engaged in fraud, price fixing, antitrust violations, and even “intentional deception” over the Taylor Swift tickets in a lawsuit filed against itself. Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour reportedly saw unprecedented demand when it went on sale in November. Fans experienced massive waits, glitches, and delays as the system failed repeatedly amid the surged traffic. Then, Ticketmaster and Live Nation opted to cancel the general ticket sale entirely, claiming that no inventory remained, though many question what percentage of the house was held back for later sale, or distributed through partners.

The ticketing giant was in hot water once again after cancelling thousands of tickets to the finale of Bad Bunny’s tour in Mexico City over the weekend. The company, which tried to blame the issues on fans turning up with fake tickets, could face fines up to ten percent of Ticketmaster Mexico’s 2021 annual earnings in addition to refunding consumers who were denied entry at the concert.