How to Buy Tickets from Online Resellers

How to Buy Tickets from Online Resellers

Buying tickets from online resellers like StubHub, TicketLiquidator, RazorGator, AceTickets (I like Ace & StubHub the best), and the like is much different than buying tickets at auction on eBay or anywhere else. You must know in advance that when you buy tickets from one of these sites, you will likely pay a premium for doing so.

Good reasons for buying from an online reseller / scalper include:
– The show is in four days or less and you want assurance you will have tickets;
– You don’t have time to search elsewhere;
– You have an important client coming to town and you need to get a great seat for a show or game, price is not a consideration;
– You are filthy rich and prefer to spend time day trading than hunting auction sites for ticket deals.

Bad reasons for buying tickets from an online reseller / scalper include:
– You are lazy;
– You don’t know how to use eBay and are afraid to sign-up;
– You think that eBay is full of fraudulent sellers, which it is not;
– You think online resellers sell only the best tickets, which is also not true.

Two Key Rules:

1) Ticket resellers often power their sales platform by reenforcing reports that an event is “sold out.” Contrary to headlines and other grandious news, events are rarely ‘sold out.’ Even when there are reports of  ticket prices in the $1,000’s you are likely hearing about one or two isolated cases of one (very silly) person willing to pay $1,000 for a front row center seat. Even the most sought after tickets, average ticket prices are more reasonable (considering they are resold) than media claims and urban myth suggest. The truth is, few concerts or other events truly sell out. As my friend Flav-a-Flav says: Don’t Believe the Hype!

2) Unless you do not care or it is not your money, DO NOT BUY at or near the on-sale date for the event. Ticket prices are a mess at this time. Buyers everywhere and sellers trying to figure out what price to sell at = you could pay way too much.

If you are buying tickets from an online reseller, here are some tips for getting decent tickets at a decent price:

1. DON’T BUY THE TICKETS ONLINE if you can help it. Often times, the seller has an 800 number that leads to an agent (if you are in New England, call Trish at Ace Tickets, she is tough, but good). That agent has a sales objective and selling you a pair of tickets makes them look good. They are often empowered to give you a price break if you buy from them now. It may only be $10 or $20, but that is better than what you would have paid online. CAVEAT: make sure they are agreeing to sell you the tickets for the specific seats you want, confirm with them before you give the credit card number.
2. Price shop before you call, make sure you look at available seats and ticket prices on more than one site to see what is out there. You will be surprised to learn how many people visit one site and assume those are the only tickets that exist.
3. Do not call without a seat map in hand to reference and be sure you write down the name of the person you spoke with and the approximate time, in case there are any mis-understandings.
4. If you don’t get right combination of location and price you want on the first call, and you can wait, let the person know you want to continue looking.
5. BE POLITE and nice to the person you are speaking with. They are your friend. Tell them what you want and the price you are willing to pay, if they are a good sales person, they will ask for your name and number and call you if they get something you want. If they are not nice to you (which sometimes happens with ticket reseller agents) just say goodbye.

If you prefer to use an online reseller, patience and courtesy is a virtue. Almost always, the best prices will come to pass in the last 24 hours leading up to the event. More often, the better values come to pass within hours of the event. Typically, if I am going to buy a ticket from a reseller, I will call them the morning of the event, let them know what I want and the approximate price I want to pay. I leave my number and let them know I am willing to wait. Often times, I get a call about two hours or less before the event with an offer. They have people on site to do the ticket / cash exchange and in other cases they have a storefront location at the venue.

Remember: Resellers are professionals, all the do is sell tickets. They know what you are going to say before you say it. If you want selection at the best price, the way you get it is by being friendly AND if you buy a few tickets a year, establish a relationship with one company. repeat buys get more attention.

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