There are thousands of websites selling tickets and many are cropping up that are confusing consumers into thinking they are the official website of the artist or venue. A recent report by an Atlanta station, thenewsroom.com regarding a complaint by a consumer and an official looking Philips Arena website has the state of Georgia looking into the matter.
Apparently the website owners were not legally licensed to sell tickets and they did not disclose they were a third part, according to the report. It does not appear the website is still high in the search listings as they were when this story came out, but it’s easy to find the same company with websites for every major venue in the country.
All of the websites look pretty much the same because they are owned by the same company, as you can find by checking the Terms and Conditions Page. They have maybe hundreds of websites clogging the web and all are selling the same tickets, with hidden fees.
And what’s the result? Many consumers think they are buying directly from the venue because they feel it is not adequatley disclosed in the small print. And their choices are limited with the same company’s websites filling up the first page of the Google results.
It makes it tough for consumers to find up front ticket companies such as PreferrredSeat.com where they know right away who they are dealing with and they can find tickets without any hidden fees.
What can a consumer do? Never buy tickets without checking out the contact page first to see if it is who you think they are. Many of the sites you want to be careful of don’t list a contact address, just a phone number and email. Do you want to do business with someone who doesn’t want you to know where they are?
Then check the Terms and Conditions Page, if they have one and see if you can understand a word of it or if it looks like it was drawn up to protect the seller, and confuse the customer. And hopefully you can find out the real name of the company and not just the name of the website.
If you’re spending more than just a few bucks then check with the Better Business Bureau also. It doesn’t take but a minute and you can find out a few things about a company. And compare even those that have good records because an “A” record with 700 complaints in the last three years is not the same as an “A +” record with 0 complaints.