Venues Crack Down on Bots and Ticket Scalpers

Scalping has Made Ticket Buying Trickier for Everyone

Be honest:  when you make a purchase on the internet and have to check that you’ve read and accept the “Terms of Agreement,” do you actually read the terms before checking the box? I’d guess that most of us don’t.  And that’s a mistake.

This has particularly become an issue when it comes to buying tickets for events as individual buyers may be feeling the effects of venues trying to crack down on bots and ticket scalpers.

Over the past few months there have been news stories about high-profile shows taking action and invalidating or refusing tickets that violated their terms of agreement.  In May, Hamilton producers refunded tickets that were in violation of agreements and buyer limits and resold them to new buyers.  And in August, dozens of people were turned away from the Palace Theatre in London when trying to use tickets they’d bought on the secondary market for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

While it’s certainly understandable and commendable that producers would try to crack down on scalpers, individual ticket buyers may get caught in the fray. One poster to the chat boards shared an experience of a group of parents and teachers each buying an allowed number of tickets that were invalidated because the number of tickets bought from a single IP address (the parents all met at the school to buy the tickets) was in violation of the terms.

So what can you do to make sure those tickets you scrimped and saved and fought for are actually honored and get you in to your show?  It’s a pain and takes extra time, but read the fine print!

Here are just a few specific things to pay attention to:

Ticket limits.  If the agreement says you are limited to a specific number of tickets for a performance, that doesn’t mean per transaction.  If you buy over the limit in separate transactions, that’s still a violation.

Time ranges.  Sometimes the ticket limit will be over a specific time range.  So you might be able to get 10 tickets over 2 months, for example.  Make sure your purchases comply.

Authorized dealers.  Some venues may only allow tickets bought through specific retailers.  If your ticket is from another third-party, it may be denied.  If there aren’t specific rules about where you buy your tickets, make sure you check out these tips before going to the secondary market.

Required ID and transferring tickets.  Pay special attention, especially as we head into the holiday season, to rules about transferring tickets.  Make sure you don’t spend a lot of money on a ticket for a gift that will be denied because the wrong name is on it!