Sold-out events have become increasingly common in recent years, causing frustration for those seeking tickets to concerts, shows or sporting events.
Fortunately, the secondary market for tickets is safer than in the past. Traditional back-alley scalpers have been largely replaced by Internet-based ticket-resale companies and Web sites where you can resell tickets.
Expect tickets for the hottest shows and events to trade for several times their face value, while less popular events might trade at a more modest premium or no premium at all.
Caution: Scalping laws have been relaxed in recent years as state governments bow to the reality that they have little power to prevent Internet transactions. Still, it remains illegal in most states to resell tickets near the venue where the event will take place, particularly for more than face value, and some states even restrict how tickets can be resold over the Internet. To learn more about ticket-resale laws in your state, consult your state attorney general’s office... or click on your state’s name on eBay’s ticket sales rules page (http://pages.ebay.com/
The largest Internet ticket resellers include StubHub.com (now owned by eBay, 866-788-2482)... Ticket-Liquidator.com (800-456-8499)... TicketsNow.com (800-927-2770)... Ticket Exchange (part of TicketMaster, phone number varies by state, www.ticketmaster.com/ticketexchangehome)... and RazorGator.com (800-542-4466).
Prices on comparable tickets can vary significantly among these resale sites, so comparison-shop all five. There are other, smaller ticket brokers as well, but make sure that any site you use is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (www.NATB.org). NATB members offer customers a money-back guarantee should something go wrong.
For sporting events, check the team’s Web site. Some teams have set up exchanges where season-ticket holders can sell tickets they are not using.
Tickets often are sold through eBay.com and Craigslist.org as well. It sometimes is possible to find attractive ticket prices on these sites, but you likely will be buying from an individual. That means counterfeit tickets and other scams are a bit more likely.
On rare occasions, a very small number of last-minute tickets might be available to sold-out events at the arena or stadium ticket window on the day of the event. This is most likely to work if you need only a single seat, not two seats together.
Sell unneeded tickets on any of the major Internet ticket reseller sites listed above. Or you can try to sell them on eBay.com or Craigslist.org. Look up how much the major ticket broker Web sites are charging for similar seats, then set your eBay “Buy It Now” price or Craigslist asking price at least 10% lower.
Make sure your auction ends a week or more before the event date so that you have time to mail the tickets to the winning bidder.
If you have no buyers after a few days, recheck the prices on the ticket broker sites. If ticket prices have dropped, you might need to lower your price.
Some sports teams have additional restrictions governing how ticket buyers can resell their seats. Season-ticket holders caught breaking these rules might lose their chance to purchase tickets in future years. Check the team’s Web site for rules.
Source: Alfred Branch, Jr., news editor of TicketNews.com, a ticket industry news resource based in Vernon, Connecticut.