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Monty Python’s Flying Circus show sold 14,500 tickets in just 43.5 seconds. Ed Sheeran raked in $213.9 million, even with the lowest ticket price average in 2018. Whether it's on a concert stage or in the sports arena, fans will go to outrageous lengths to see their favorite stars perform. Fortunately, several companies are devoted to buying, selling, and trading tickets to your favorite events. Unfortunately, buying tickets that don’t exist or are fraudulent is a common scam; consumers send money to strangers online and never receive their tickets. Luckily, you can combat buying counterfeit tickets in several ways and still see your favorite celebrities perform.
Ticket resellers and brokers have several means to procure tickets that are hard-to-find or not available at the official box office. Resellers (often called ticket scalpers) stand outside venues and events hoping that people without tickets will purchase them for above face value, therefore earning a profit. In 2009, “paperless” ticketing was introduced, and customers can now prove their purchase by presenting their credit card and identification.
Online ticket brokers often decide ticket prices based on the demand and availability. Consumers should keep in mind that the official seller does not always sanction tickets being sold through an online brokering service.
Consumers can find it difficult to know when a ticket is fake or if they’ve paid too much. Here are several tips to ensure you’re buying tickets from legitimate sources:
Once you get your ticket, keep it in a safe place and avoid posting photos of it online. Photos that show the barcode or reference number make it easy for scammers to duplicate or create copies.
Convenience is the most obvious benefit of purchasing tickets online. Gone are the days when you needed to beat the lines at your venue’s box office. The new name of the game is to find the tickets you want in the seats you want — all in the comfort of your home, or if you’re a procrastinator, en route to the event!
When you shop for tickets online, you can compare prices across various venues and date ranges, access seat availability in real time, and get mobile e-tickets delivered to your smartphone or email inbox immediately.
Some online ticket sales providers have a grace period in which you can cancel a ticket order a certain number of days after the purchase without ever needing to worry about returning or mailing tangible tickets.
And, of course, digital tickets eliminate the hassle of looking for lost paper tickets when all you need is your phone to gain admission to your event.
Ticket types vary by event type and venue. Many people want to hold a physical ticket when they attend an event, even if there is a digital download or e-ticket option.
In most cases, paper tickets bought through a ticket sales company are mailed directly to the buyer. Ticket sales occasionally require pick-up at the venue or box office prior to the event.
Keep in mind that paper tickets can get lost. When a ticket is sent to your email or as a text message, it’s not going anywhere.
Nearly all companies charge service fees, processing fees, shipping fees, and other fees for their services. If a ticket company says it doesn’t charge fees, look a little closer and compare prices with comparable tickets from other sellers. It’s possible that the price of the ticket itself has been hiked up to compensate for the lack of fees.
After covering transaction and shipping costs, service fees go towards business operations of the ticket companies. After all, ticket companies give mutually beneficial value to the buyer and seller by providing a platform for the sale.
Many ticket sales providers give individual sellers the opportunity to advertise and sell their tickets more effectively than traditional methods like physical bulletin boards and word of mouth.
As the liaison between buyer and seller, the ticket company facilitates connecting interested parties. Ticket companies vary in their respective methods, policies, and fees throughout this process. In almost every case, the company will take a set percentage of the sale, so consider that as you set your selling price.
Most ticket websites automatically generate popular events near you using the location information from the computer or mobile device you are using. You can also search for events with filters such as location (zip code or city), date range, venue and/or event type (athletics, theatre, concert, etc.).
Ticket scalping is reselling tickets from licensed sellers and selling them for a price determined by the person (or company) now possessing the tickets. Most states do not have laws against scalping, which can be done on-site at an event or online.
Fraudulent ticket sales are rampant in the industry. However, equipped with knowledge about common red flags, you can avoid problematic encounters with ticket scammers.
As the adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. As you shop, it’s unlikely you’ll find a complete “steal” on a legitimate ticket that is presumably in high demand. Nor should you pay more than face value when an event is not yet sold out. Real tickets generally sell at prices comparable to other listings for the same event.
Scammers often write detailed sob stories about why they can no longer attend an event. Emotions should not play into buying or selling a ticket from a particular seller — the value of the ticket should stand alone.
Individual sellers should never ask for your credit card information or other personal identifying information directly. Rather, all ticket payments should go through a secure payment system operated by the facilitating ticket company.
Should you come across a suspicious-looking listing, you can report it through a number of avenues suggested by USA.gov:
Your unique needs and preferences play into finding the best tickets provider for you. Are you looking for the best deals on sporting events? An athletics-focused company might be your best bet. Do you want to set (and have the option to change) your price when selling your own tickets? Make sure you choose a company that allows sellers considerable autonomy.
At Best Company, we rank ticket sales providers with regard to user reviews in addition to a number of industry-specific factors like service fees, additional fees, selling opportunities, return and exchange policies, and time in business. When you choose a ticket company that ranks well, you can be assured it is trusted by customers and industry experts.