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Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

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Hong Kong, China
posts: 17
reviews: 19
Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

Dear all,

Wanting to visit the Uffizi and Accademia in Florence, I searched in yahoo with the keyword "uffizi" and the first website that came up was "uffizi.com".

The name sounded pretty official I thought. The webpage was also pretty professional looking and it is NOT APPARENT at all that this is anything other than the museum's own website.

Warning: these websites are calculated to confuse you to think they are official. Their existence as a middle person is pointless because one can easily buy direct from the museum's official website. Thus confusing you makes it all easier for them to do business.

Prices were steep - tickets for 2 at the 2 museums plus 1 audio guide at each museum cost me almost 90 EUR. I naively thought that Italy was undergoing serious economic crisis and they had to rely on the tourist industry to save them, so the government has raised their prices to increase income - I was so wrong.

I received an email which said I will receive my vouchers ONE BUSINESS DAY later. (Which was unusual, most official websites confirm immediately!) There is also a disclaimer that if the museum tickets are sold out, the time slots that I chose will not be provided, instead, the closest available time slot will be given! (I thought that was suspicious too. I did not pay a fortune to NOT have a guarantee of entry at my desired time did I? if that's the case why don't I just go and line up outside the museums instead of going through the hassle of buying online?)

Needless to say, I wrote to the merchant's email address complaining the above demanding a full refund, and I have not gotten any reply.

So my advice to all is - MAKE SURE you only buy from the official website! Prices are cheaper (about half the price) and you are guaranteed entry!

And I would also like to seek advice from experts here - has anyone had the experience of buying vouchers from this same website? (Also trading as "Weekend in Italy") Are the vouchers legitimate? Did you get to enter the museum at your chosen time with no problem?

I am going to buy also from the official website if entry is not guaranteed.

I am also wondering if I should seek help from my credit card issuing bank - though it appears that they have already authorized the payment and they could only dispute with the merchant on my behalf. The thing is - I doubt if a merchant which created a misleading website would be happy to give you a full refund with no questions asked!

p.s. In hindsight, I was an idiot. However authentic the website looks, why would the government use "dotcom" as a domain name? And.. why would the website be in English?

Edited: 10:37 pm, March 22, 2012
Hong Kong, China
posts: 17
reviews: 19
11. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

The ticket agency just replied me, generically, not at all

addressing my concern. Rather, they are just asking for more money.. quite ironic huh.. -

"please notice that the confirmed time is write on the voucher and you can do the visit on that time.

Changes to confirmed visits can be made, depending on availability, but please notice that there is an extra fee per each ticket change, requested by museums (Euro 7.75 for the Uffizi Gallery, Euro 7.00 for the Accademia Gallery, Euro 6.00 for the rest of the museums). If you are interested, please let us know so we can send you the link for the online payment of the penalty fee."

If these agencies are legit (as kindly advised by fellow tripadvisor members), that means I was just paying a higher booking fee, but will get my tickets. I guess I will just settle at this.

Disputing it was what I was going to do and I already called the bank, but the bank was not too helpful, saying they need 60 days to investigate. Indeed the agency has already provideD the service to me (which is sending me the vouchers, as sydneynick rightly pointed out ) so it will be quite hard to dispute.

Sydneynick - If only I knew "uffizi" is just an ordinary Italian term meaning office! I guess it is always a big advantage to know the language of the place you are visiting! :)

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 32,479
reviews: 22
12. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

Another clue: official websites in Italy tend to end in .it, not .com. This is not always true, but when you see a website that ends in .com, do a little more investigating.

France
posts: 2
13. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

Can anyone tell me what the official website is for purchasing museum tickets in Florence?

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 16,068
reviews: 47
14. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

this is an internet blight that affects all sorts of reservations -- we caught by one of these middlemen when booking a hotel on the road last summer in Indiana -- I thought I had booked with the official site (got the phone number on line while traveling and called to make the reservation) when we got to the hotel (the only one anywhere near that took pets and we were mid-move from one city to another with our cat) they had no record and it was a major hassle to get it sorted out. we were lucky that the clerk at the hotel was very laid back, considerate and patient and let us take the room without paying while we finally got the confirmation from the jobber -- it was of course more expensive than if we had just walked in that day.

because search engines allow these creeps to buy priority, often when searching you come up with these bogus sites pretending to be the real thing while the official sites are on later pages

good alert -- it must have been very aggravating to get trapped like this

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
posts: 6,873
reviews: 51
15. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

Dorothy, information on the official sites for Uffizi and Accademia is found here:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187893-c145508/Tusca…

It is better to phone than to book online, although it seems to me that far few people are reporting problems with the official website than were doing a year or so ago. The Uffizi and the Accademia are the only two museums that need pre-booking.

Bedford, United...
posts: 5,161
reviews: 37
16. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

Dorothy - read this :

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187893-c145508/Tusca…

Bedford, United...
posts: 5,161
reviews: 37
17. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

So good they wrote it twice. :) Mea culpa.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
posts: 6,873
reviews: 51
18. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

:)

France
posts: 2
19. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

thanks for the website and advice

20. Re: Buy museum tickets at OFFICIAL websites only! Please advise!

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