Caveat secundus emptor – Secondary buyer beware …
Actually the secondary, or reseller, market for tickets does have many good points – if used the way it was envisaged when set up which was to allow people who had bought, but for some reason couldn’t use, tickets to sell them to people who needed, but couldn’t find, tickets.
But of course, once you create a market people will find a way of exploiting it … and that is what has happened. Putting aside the professional shenanigans of artists and suppliers moving stuff between markets, the main exploits seem to be
- I need 2 tickets but can’t really afford them so I’ll buy 4 tickets, sell 2 at an inflated price and cover the cost that way
- I don’t really have any tickets but can probably get some at a price so I’ll sell thin-air really expensively then if someone buys it I’ll go find the tickets later
Lesson 1 … the secondary market really is no way of buying cheap tickets … basically if an event is not sold out then simply ignore secondaries and go straight for original suppliers.
So, some tips …
1. Only use reliable suppliers – we only promote sites with good customer promises but even then you must take care … keep your wits about you. If in doubt check ASTA UK (The Association of Secondary Ticket Agents)
2. Avoid tout sites .. easier said than done they can look very professional but will tend to be sites offering tickets for a single show or tour only and will have no contact page (look for an UK address and phone number). The Metropolitan Police are particularly hot on ticket fraud at the moment, www.met.police.uk/fraudalert
3. If the tickets are not on sale yet through primary sources then beware as any offer of those tickets through secondary sites is likely to be someone selling thin-air and promises. Think about it … how can someone have bought the tickets then decided they couldn’t go to the show when the tickets aren’t on sale yet?
4. Check that the show/date/venue you are being offered really is on .. this is less about fraud than about ‘seller error’ … we see masses of tickets here (around 31,000 tickets performances) and the number of times we see secondary tickets on sale for the wrong venue, wrong date or mis-labelled show is amazing. If the site you’re looking at says that Elton John is at the New London Theatre and everyone else says hes at the Manchester Evening News Arena then believe the majority 😉
5. Do not, under any circumstances, buy Olympic tickets except through the (soon to be announced and launched) official website set up for that purpose .. it is not legal!
6. Check its not a show that bans secondary sales – any ticket carrying a proof of identity is likely to fall into this category and some shows (Alicia Keys at the RAH recently) insist on proof of identity as original purchaser. In the UK the assumption at the moment is that the ticket is a “non-transferable right to enter” and the ticket issuer has the right to cancel and resell that permission if you breach the small print (e.g. by reselling the ticket) .. there have been occasions where ticket issuers have seen tickets on sale on eBay and so cancelled and resold those seats … oh yes they can!
7. Check again that there really are no primary tickets available, ideally from a member of STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) – remember, one supplier saying a show is sold out doesn’t mean that another supplier doesn’t have a bucket full of discounted tickets .. that’s why at SeatChoice we offer a range of legitimate suppliers to chose from. Some suppliers also offer an insurance policy so that if you buy tickets and are unable to use them you can simply exchange them for another day
You’ll notice we have said nothing about price. It would be lovely if the market really were about unwanted tickets and people were happy to sell them at the price they paid for them and the websites just charged a small handing fee. Needless to say, this is not the way the market works and it is not what goes through the sellers mind.
Being realistic, the last few tickets for a sell out show are going to really set you back quite a bit – the ticket will be expensive, the handling fees will be expensive and despite the “peace of mind” pledges you will stress about it until you’re actually sat in your seat!
Having said that, if its a must see show and is genuinely sold out ….. go for it just remember the pointers above and take care …. and if you are scammed then report it we need to catch these bu**ers!