Buying Tickets From A Broker: What You Should Know Before You Shop

Apr 8 08:01 2006 J.B. Hooper Print This Article

How to buy sold-out tickets from a broker without getting ripped off.

Tickets are unique products,Guest Posting and buying them can be a stressful experience. The internet is an outstanding resource for tickets, as it allows for easy comparison-shopping, has a wide variety of tickets, and features websites belonging to both primary and secondary ticket brokers. A primary broker is the official sources of tickets for a given show, such as Ticketmaster. A secondary broker is a person or group of people that buy tickets from a primary broker, then resell them to consumers or other brokers.

These two sources of tickets have their own pros and cons. Primary brokers do not have control over their price, which is always the face value of the ticket. This is usually cheaper than the price charged by secondary brokers, who charge prices that vary based on the supply of and demand for the tickets. For example, a ticket to Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden might be $50 at Ticketmaster. The same ticket from a secondary broker might cost $200. Then why buy from a secondary broker?

Because there are more people wanting to buy the tickets at $50 than there are seats for the show. Unless you are quick to get your tickets when they first go on sale, Ticketmaster will probably have none left. Also, many tickets are simply not available for public sale from primary brokers. For instance, the New York Giants have a 40-year waiting list for season tickets. On the other hand, there are always secondary brokers who have tickets to sell as long as the price is right. They are not limited by the face value of the tickets, and can sell them for closer to their "true" value. The "true" value is where the supply of tickets at a certain price is equal to the demand for tickets at that price.

This supply-and-demand effect can help the consumer as well. If brokers overestimate the popularity of an event, prices can drop sharply as brokers try to cut their losses. This can result in New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox tickets selling for $0.49 and outstanding Super Bowl seats going for $100.

One downside of secondary brokers is that they are less regulated than primary brokers. However, the process can be as safe and easy as using an official ticket source. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying tickets from a secondary broker:

1. Buy tickets online. The ability to compare prices and take your time researching your options makes the internet the best source for tickets. Also, buying them on the street is typically illegal and you risk being fined, arrested, or denied entry to the event.

2. Buy tickets several weeks before the event you wish to attend. Demand for tickets to a given event generally increases as that event draws closer, meaning that prices for tickets will keep going up. Also, many tickets must be mailed, which can take up to a week.

3. Get all of the necessary information about your tickets, such as the seat numbers, exact delivery times, refund policies, postponement policies, and cancellation policies. The seat information and delivery times should be available while purchasing the tickets. The policies are not regulated and vary from broker to broker, so it's important to thoroughly check the website for the information, call or e-mail the broker with questions, and read disclaimers before purchasing tickets.

4. If a deal seems too good to be true, it often is. Take note of service charges, shipping charges, taxes, and other hidden fees. Typing mistakes, wrongly-listed inventory, and outright dishonesty do occur. Call the broker about any suspicious bargains before purchasing tickets.

5. Always use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards offer protection against products ordered and not delivered while debit cards do not. In case of tickets not being delivered, work with the broker first to resolve the issue. If you get no satisfaction, you can approach the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) to intervene. The final recourse is your credit card company.

These tips should help you avoid wrangling with a broker about terms and conditions or getting completely ripped off. The more deliberate and better informed you are while shopping, the more likely your experience is to be pleasant, rewarding, and secure.

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About Article Author

J.B. Hooper
J.B. Hooper

J.B. Hooper is a consultant for He has been an authority on Sports, Concerts and Theater for more than twenty years.

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