Tips for Buying Live Event Tickets for Holiday Gifts

Tips for Buying Live Event Tickets for Holiday Gifts

New England Ticket Fairness Alliance Warns Consumers of Ticket-Buying Pitfalls


WASHINGTON, DC – If you’re looking for a personalized and memorable holiday gift for family and friends, look no further than tickets to see their favorite artist or sports team. However, if you choose to purchase live event tickets as a gift, beware of a few restrictions and deceptive practices that could put a damper on the holiday experience. New England Ticket Fairness Alliance issues a Holiday Gift Guide to help consumers navigate the ticket purchasing process.


“Too often when trying to buy event tickets, consumers encounter unpleasant surprises – from scams, to unanticipated restrictions, to instant sellouts,” said Greg D’Agostino, a spokesperson for NETFA. “The last thing we want to happen is consumers buying a thoughtful holiday gift for a loved one only to find out they ended up with fraudulent tickets or tickets that can’t be given away. We also urge consumers to be smart shoppers and shop around for the best deals from a reputable source.”


The Holiday Gift Guide advises consumers to:

  1. Read the Fine Print: Concerts and sports teams are increasingly selling restricted tickets, also known as paperless or Credit Card Entry tickets, which require the buyer to show up at the stadium and present the purchasing credit card and photo ID. The fine print indicates these tickets are nontransferable and can’t be given away as gifts. Some venues also limit the number of tickets you can buy and may cancel your order if you exceed the max.
  1. Look into Presales: Popular artists, venues and ticket vendors tend to allocate large blocks of tickets to fan club members, VIPs, premium credit card holders and personal acquaintances, leaving only a small portion of tickets to the general public. For example, for a recent Justin Bieber concert in Nashville, only 1,001 out of 14,000 seats were available during the public on-sale.
  1. Beware of Hidden Price Floors: When purchasing resale tickets on secondary sites, check multiple sources to make sure you get the best price. Some artists, teams and ticket vendors dictate a price floor for ticket resale and therefore, may not have tickets available for the true market value. For example, the NFL’s official TicketExchange through Ticketmaster will not allow tickets to be sold below a designated value.
  1. Use Reliable Sellers: If you're unsure whether a company is legitimate, check its ratings with the Better Business Bureau. If purchasing from a ticket broker, check to see if it is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, whose Code of Ethics requires members to adhere to basic consumer protections.
  1. Check your ticket vendor’s guarantee policy: For example, websites like StubHub, TicketExchange, Ace Tickets and members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers guarantee every ticket sold on their sites and will replace them or provide refunds to consumers if they receive the wrong tickets, their tickets are invalid or an event is cancelled.
  1. Buy with a Credit Card: Regardless of where you buy tickets, be sure to use a credit card so you can dispute any unfair or unauthorized charges. Before entering your credit card information online, double check the company’s URL to ensure you don’t get duped by an imposter and be sure the site has "https://" at the beginning of its address.
  1. Be prepared to pay additional fees: Unlike airline tickets, which are now required by law to disclose all taxes and additional fees upfront, the ticket price listed at the start of the purchasing process will likely not be your final price.

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