How to avoid getting duped by a third-party seller or ticket site

How to avoid getting duped by a third-party seller or ticket site

(Hans Koepsell, Deseret News, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Fifty-dollar tickets reselling for $400. Multiple people tricked into buying a ticket for the same seat at a concert. Ticket sites cloning official venue websites.

These are some of the common problems that come up when dealing with third-party ticket selling sites.

Getting duped by third-party sellers and ticket sites is becoming an increasing issue, and there’s limited regulation in the state of Utah to offer solutions.

However, theater representatives say there are ways to avoid the common pitfalls associated with these sellers.

“Please, please, please get a legitimate ticket,” Salt Lake County Center for the Arts Communications manager Cami Munk said. “The shows are expensive and it’s just heartbreaking when you hear a story of someone who bought tickets and they can’t use them. … It is heartbreaking, so be sure that you’re buying from a legitimate source.”

Third-party sellers sometimes jack up the prices of tickets with huge fees. Tickets for shows can end up costing you up to 10 times the original price of the ticket, Munk said.

“We run into this problem a lot,” she said. “We recommend that if people have a question about a ticket they’re trying to purchase online and they’re not 100 percent sure, they can always call ArtTix directly and we can help them answer their questions. That’s the best way to avoid getting scammed.”

ArtTix is the official ticket seller for the venues Salt Lake County Center for the Arts owns and operates, including Abravanel Hall, Capitol Theater, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and the Eccles Theater.

You can also go to the website for the group that is performing a show at any of those venues and you will be directed to ArtTix from there to buy legitimate tickets, Munk said.

If you’re trying to buy a ticket for a certain show, make sure you know the original price of a ticket so you don’t buy one with a big markup, Davis Arts Council marketing and development coordinator Kym Ridl said.

Even if a Davis County show is sold out, you’ll still be able to see what the original prices were for tickets.

“Be aware of what the original ticket price was before you go forward,” Ridl said.

Please, please, please get a legitimate ticket. The shows are expensive and it’s just heartbreaking when you hear a story of someone who bought tickets and they can’t use them.

–Cami Munk, Salt Lake County Center for the Arts Communications manager

That’s also helpful for people who are looking at online classifieds sites, such as KSL Classifieds, Craigslist or Facebook, to buy tickets, she said.

Some third-party ticket sellers have become adept at imitating official ticket-selling sites, according to Munk. Some also have purchased ad space from Google so that their sites show up first when people search Google for certain shows, she said.

“Third-party ticket sellers are getting really savvy in the way that they promote these tickets,” she said.

Some have cloned the ArtTix website and others include a picture of the Eccles Theater, she said. Some sites include a word or two about Davis County in the URL, even though the site is not associated with Davis County, Ridl said.

If a show is sold out and there are no more tickets available, Ridl suggests calling the venue or group that is handling the show before you look for tickets elsewhere. Sometimes season ticket holders will be unable to use tickets for sold-out concerts and will be looking to sell them.

Usually, those tickets are sold for close to the original price, unless it’s a bigger show and the ticket seller wants to turn a slight profit by selling them, Ridl said.

Regulation on ticket reselling is limited in Utah, Munk said.

Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Millcreek, proposed a “Ticket Scalpings Provisions” bill earlier this year, but it was abandoned. He also proposed a similar bill in 2010, but the proposal failed then.

In 1998, a bill was proposed that would have made it a misdemeanor to resell a ticket for more than $10 or 15 percent of the price printed on the ticket. That bill never went through.

It’s not just a Utah problem, Munk said. It’s affecting concert venues nationwide.

Recently, Google has enacted some policies that have increased transparency and accountability for these sites, she said. She hopes that there will soon be more similar regulations enacted.

“There’s a lot of focus on it,” Munk said. “There’s a lot of awareness, so hopefully we’ll start seeing more attention and more regulation of third-party sellers.”

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