Ticket scalping and on-selling

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The growth of online trading sites has made ticket on-selling easier for unauthorised resellers. Ticket on-selling has become a popular way for people to buy tickets when they miss out on purchasing from an official outlet.  Be warned, buying a ticket through an unauthorised reseller carries a significant amount of risk.

Tips for buying event tickets safely and securely, by ConsumerProtectionWA

Risks from buying for an on-seller

If you buy from an on-seller you might:

  • be turned away at the venue
  • not get the seats you ordered
  • not be made aware of certain conditions (for example, restricted view).
  • pay significantly more than what an authorised seller is charging;
  • not receive a refund if an event is cancelled; or
  • lose your money and the opportunity to attend the event if the tickets are not delivered or the tickets are counterfeit.

Protect yourself and your tickets

Buying from an unauthorised reseller may cause issues and buying privately does not give the same protection if there are issues with the ticket. 

You should use an authorised agency to purchase tickets. Always check all options and see whether tickets are available from the primary ticket seller first.

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) requires a seller to:

  • provide tickets which are fit for purpose and match their description;
  • advertise the full price and include all fees, plus the minimum postage costs, if known by the seller at the time;
  • provide a receipt; and
  • not mislead in any way.

Consumers can reduce the risk associated with buying tickets and safe-guard themselves by:

  • find out from the event organiser who the authorised sellers are;
  • check WA ScamNet for any relevant scams;
  • check the terms and conditions of the ticket before purchasing;
  • never give out too many personal details online, including birthdates;
  • only use secure payment methods and consider using a credit card which usually has added protections of its own; and
  • always ask for a receipt and save all transaction records.

Event organisers can also use a number of different measures to prevent or reduce scalping of their tickets, including:

  • placing limits on the number of tickets one person can purchase;
  • using extra security to verify it is a person, not a computer, buying the tickets;
  • requiring names be printed on tickets and checked against ID at events;
  • using electronic ticketing and including a barcode to be scanned at the event;
  • requiring the credit card used in the purchase to be presented at events; and
  • staggering the release of tickets.

What to do when you have a problem with your ticket/s

If a ticket is purchased from an unauthorised reseller and is rejected by the venue, doesn’t arrive or the event is cancelled, Consumer Protection recommends you contact the business first to discuss the problem and try to resolve the complaint directly.

If payment was made using a credit card a dispute may be lodged with the card provider.

If the tickets were purchased using PayPal, contact their Resolution Centre and see if there are any protections offered through your PayPal Buyer Protection program or by calling 1800 073 263.

If you still have trouble after trying the above steps, you can contact the Consumer Protection by email or by calling 1300 304 054.

For general tips for buying tickets safely and securely refer to the Safe Tix Guide from Live Performance Australia.

On-selling your tickets

If you have to sell your ticket because you are no longer able to attend an event, you should be mindful of the above the reasons why people may think it is risky buying a ticket from you in the first place. 

The original ticket seller may be prepared to refund your ticket i.e. buy it back from you for the original face price so it can be resold legitimately from the authorised seller.  You may find you lose a small amount in these transactions as you may not get the return of any admin fees etc. you paid on top of the face value of the ticket in the first place - but you may need to accept this is a small price to pay in ensuring the person who ultimately buys the ticket can enjoy the event knowing they have a legitimate ticket purchased from the authorised seller.

If you have to use a reseller, many consumers will feel more comfortable buying a ticket using a credit card or PayPal - as this gives them a degree of comfort knowing they can request a charge back from PayPal or their financial institution if they do not get what they paid for.  They may not get to the event but they may well get their money back. So select a reseller which provides that level of confidence in the purchase.

If you use a for sale or trading website where the sale is directly between you and the purchaser, there are less assurances for any buyer that they have any redress if you or anyone else sells a fake ticket.  Buyers will want the original ticket.  They may want to check with the event promoter to see if the ticket is valid but there remains risks if a valid ticket is sold more than once, as whoever attends the event first will likely gain entry however, anyone subsequently attending with what they believe to be a valid ticket will possibly be refused entry.

Ticket on-selling and scalping factsheet

Organisers of sporting and entertainment events authorise certain agencies to sell tickets to their events. When unauthorised people on-sell tickets, sometimes for an inflated price, it can greatly disadvantage consumers.

Download the Ticket on-selling and scalping factsheet

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