Oktoberfest organisers warn guests of online table reservation scams
To the large number of guests that come to Munich every year eager to participate in Oktoberfest, free tables in the beer tents can seem like gold dust. However all that glitters is not gold, and people trying their luck in reserving a table through the internet should be wary of scams.
Acquiring a table, especially on a Saturday evening, is extremely difficult, and as a result people are willing to pay exorbitant amounts in order to reserve one. Some table reservations have been reported to sell for as much as EUR1,000. Scam artists play on this knowledge by selling invalid or fake table reservations through online bidding websites such as eBay. Every year, event organisers are faced with numerous problems such as this, and they are often extremely embarrassing explains a spokesperson for Oktoberfest.
"It is difficult to find a feasible solution to this problem," said the event's lawyer Richard Seifer. One option would be to put in place strong security measures seen at other large events such as the recent Champions League Final, which would involve only allowing personalised reservations and the strict checking of visitors' identification. Seifer maintains, however, that this would spoil the atmosphere for the guests. He recommends that people should just be careful when buying table reservations and to be especially vigilant when bidding for tickets online.
Last year, a man was discovered audaciously selling fake table reservation slips on the festival site itself. "It is very hard when we are forced to send guests away when they are in possession of an invalid ticket," said Seifer. The organisers stress that the safest way to buy tickets, as well as to avoid the problems that fake tickets invariably cause, is to make reservations at the official booths stationed in marked reservation tents.