NORFOLK -- Mavis Lawler thought tickets to Broadway's the Lion King would be a perfect gift for her daughter, who would be visiting Norfolk from Charlotte.
So she went online to find tickets and did a Yahoo search under the venue name, Chrsyler Hall.
The first site she came to was selling tickets and she bought two for a total of $189. But there was a big problem. Now she wants to warn others to be careful where you purchase tickets for big events.
"When it comes up, it shows you the seating arrangements and everything. So, I never really questioned that at all," says Lawler.
Turns out, Lawler was overcharged. Her online search had taken her to a site called BoxOfficeCenter.com that isn't in any way connected to the ticket provider for Seven Venues, the company that books the acts for Chrysler Hall and six other venues in Hampton Roads.
Lawler knew something was wrong when her tickets arrived from a Seattle company, called AmericanTicketExchange.com. It showed a face value of $25, way more than she paid.
Seven Venues spokesperson Ma'rie Hodges says people get tricked into buying overpriced or bogus tickets all the time, especially on-line.
"Crooks in general have gotten really really good. What they'll do is go in and buy venue names that will come above the venue itself on the search engine. That is the worst way to buy tickets. Never just type in the show and venue," warns Hodges.
Hodges says know the venue's ticket provider, and in the case of Lion King, it's Ticketmaster. She recommends going to the Seven Venues Web site or buy your tickets straight from the box office.
She adds that it's not uncommon for two people to sit next to each other at a show and discover they paid two very different prices for their seats.
If someone is overcharged by some a party company, Seven Venues cannot reimburse that person.
Lawler says its a lesson learned and she'll be more careful next time.