How to Buy Tickets on eBay

How to Buy Tickets on eBay

Buying event tickets on eBay takes patience and a willingness to wait for the seat and price you want. As long as you are looking for tickets a week or more before the event, you have sufficient time to search for the tickets you want. If you don’t have time, see my other post.

Best practices for buying on eBay:

– It is almost always a very bad idea to buy event tickets on eBay (or any where else for that matter) the day they go on sale or within a week of the on sale date. This is because everyone else is looking and there are few tickets available to buy at this early stage. Unless it is the last Fleetwood Mac or Eagles show EVER, its not worth buying tickets in this time frame. Why?

Disclaimer: There are some limited cases where this method will not work as well. This includes cases where event demand is unprecedented and many people are willing to pay a lot of money for a ticket. Another case is small venue events where a big artist, like Coldplay or Britney is playing in a venue with a capacity of 5,000 or less. The Superbowl is another good example. In these cases, it is a free for all and all about luck. You know this disclaimer is in effect when either prices are double plus face value or when there are only two or three ticket listings for one specific show in one specific city.

– Hold out for the ticket and price you want.  If you don’t care where you sit, shop by price.  If you care where you sit, shop by location vigilantly and then by price. 

– If you are price shopping and don’t care where you sit, you have a lot more options and I do recommend waiting about 10-15 days before the event to buy your tickets. The cheap tickets often fall below face value in this time frame. Why? 

– Truly, the absolute best time to buy a ticket on eBay is during the two to three weeks preceding the event date. It is the time I have always had great success buying good tickets at or near face value. Certainly, as this information becomes common knowledge it will change somewhat, but the one thing that sellers cannot do is change the event date and the time frame by which they need to sell the tickets. The last thing they want to do is go to the venue and sell the tickets on the street.

– Study the venue seat map listed on the primary ticket sellers website – not ones posted on eBay. They are not always reliable. Know where you want to sit and what the face value of tickets are. Know the max you are willing to pay for each ticket (and yes, that price can be at or below face value, but expect to work harder to get that price).

The best buys on resold tickets from auctions are found when you:
a) watch  3 – 5 auctions that have tickets you really want;
b) make sure you login to eBay and watch these auctions the last five minutes they run, if you see a price you like, bid during the last 60 to 30 seconds of the auctions close. If you are new to this method, go with 60 seconds so you have time to find out if your bid price is the highest. Sometimes buyers set a maximum that is $10 – 20 over the current auction price;
c) Don’t get into the heat of the moment and bid beyond your preferred buy price. Be ready to let tickets go if they get too pricey unless you really, really want those tickets. Other tickets will come around.
d) If you loose an auction, let it go. Rinse and repeat.
e) Get more aggressive 10 days before the show.

Naturally, you should only buy event tickets from people with more than 10 seller (meaning, theywere the seller) feedback points and a rating of 99% or better. The reason for this is simple: peace of mind and security in knowing the seller will deliver the tickets promptly. The likelihood of having problems with a seller increases when their feedback does not meet my criteria.

Note to resellers and people who already know this stuff: Why, why, why are you giving our secrets away? 1) If I don’t someone else will; 2) I dislike imperfect information; 3.) Spend two years writing a research paper no one reads and you will understand.

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