As Paul McCartney’s first Australian tour in over two decades went on sale, its tour promoter Frontier Touring warned eager fans not to purchase tickets from unauthorised resale sites like Viagogo and StubHub, even if they appeared as the top option when searching for ‘Paul McCartney tickets’ online.

Now, disgruntled fans have started an ambitious petition to have one of these sites removed from Google listings, intended to be signed by “anyone who has been over charged or sent wrong tickets or didn’t receive tickets from Viagogo”, and have begun sharing horror stories of having allegedly been ripped off and left without tickets and seriously out of pocket.

The complaints range from issues with money allegedly being taken but no tickets being delivered, to various other grievances including a range of hidden fees and unresponsive customer service.

An Australian fan implored local hip hop outfit Bliss N Eso to share the petition, claiming that “this company has stolen from me”, with similar allegations being made on the petition itself.

“They stole £1,280 from me and now refuse to respond to emails or calls,” one customer alleges, while another claims that “This company have the worst (sic) customer service I have ever experienced. £300 owed to me. Please spare others from falling into this trap.”

“Viagogo cancelled first transaction so bought tickets elsewhere,” another customer accuses, “then an hour later to the second they took £485.60 fraudulently without authorisation – they don’t engage despite emails calls and tweets – reported to the police and Action Fraud.”

Many feel that the company is representing itself as an official outlet offering tickets at face value, rather than an unofficial resale outlet listing tickets at a big markup, and it’s this aspect of the business that caused Frontier Touring to issue their latest warning.

You see, in the case of the McCartney shows, these sites only appear above authorised resellers like Ticketek and Ticketmaster because they pay to be there, and navigating your way through all of these ticketing options is a minefield.

“We know that internet search results can be hard to navigate when you’re on the hunt for concert tickets,” they advised fans, warning that tickets listed on Viagogo et al come with no guarantees, and are simply “paying for advertisements to appear at the top of search results for hot tours — sitting even higher than the show’s authorised ticketing agency websites!”

“When searching for tickets, read the results carefully and look for the name of the show’s authorised ticketing agency,” they warned. “The safest way to get to a show’s authorised ticketing agency is to head to our website, find the relevant tour page and follow the link in the TOUR DATES & TICKETING section.”

At this stage, the petition has been running since June 26 and has only received 126 signatures out of the goal of 1000, but its emblematic of a far wider sentiment towards ticket resale companies considering the continuous battle to stamp out scalping, which is leading to ridiculous markups on every in-demand tour right now.

We’re reaching out to Viagogo for comment, and will update the story with any response.