Ticket "scalping" is an ancient practice and some consider Internet ticket broker sites to represent the newest generation of scalpers. Reputable online ticket brokers disagree, noting a key difference: unlike scalpers, they do not negotiate their prices. An industry association, the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), has set standards for the resale of tickets and enforces a Code of Ethics among its member brokers.
If you are considering buying tickets on the secondary market, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to ensure a successful transaction.
- Ticket broker activities are legal in all but about 10 states. Check with your Attorney General (www.naag.org) to find out your state’s resale law and any related licensing requirements.
- Ask if the broker is licensed and confirm that fact with the proper regulatory agency.
- Deal only with brokers that provide clear details concerning the terms of the transaction. For instance, you should know up-front the amount of the surcharge for each purchase; whether the tickets are guaranteed; how they will be sent to you and the timeframe for delivery; and the broker’s refund, rescheduling and cancellation policies.
- Check if the ticket broker is a member of the NATB (www.natb.org) and the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). Both organizations have membership standards that promote high standards of business conduct.
- Look at several Web sites to compare prices and ticket availability for the event you’re interested in attending.
- Verify the location of the seats on a seating chart provided by the venue to avoid purchasing non-existent seats or seats with obstructed views.
- Pay with a credit card or another secure form of payment.
If you decide to use a ticket resale auction Web site, the usual Internet auction risks apply. Check the seller’s ratings and feedback from buyers and do not agree to wire money or pay by check. Use a credit card so you can dispute the charge with your credit card issuer should you never receive the promised tickets.
If you find out that you have purchased a counterfeit ticket, report it to the NATB and file a complaint with the BBB (www.bbb.org) to help warn other potential customers.