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Concert ticket caution: Woman's $45 tickets end up costing over $125 each

Beware of third-party and lookalike ticket sites.
Live Concert
Posted at 7:29 AM, May 22, 2024

Summer is almost here: the season for concerts and big outdoor music festivals.

Justin Timberlake, Olivia Rodrigo and Chris Stapleton are just some of the popular tours many concertgoers are willing to splurge for this summer (we don't even need to mention Taylor Swift, who is in a league of her own).

But finding tickets to the hottest shows can be tricky and expensive, and as one woman found out, it often comes down to which link you click.

Searching online for tickets

Lynn Blalock was looking forward to some live R&B music at the Funk Fest music festival, which will be held in several states this summer.

"We saw that the tickets were general admission and were just $45," she said, so she and a friend decided to go.

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She searched online but couldn't find the show on Ticketmaster, as it is one of several festivals that are not on the popular ticket site.

"So we just Googled for Funk Fest," she said, not realizing how dangerous that can be.

She ordered three tickets but was stunned by what hit her card.

"I suddenly realized it came to $410," she said.

We looked at her receipt and discovered it was actually $417, with those $45 tickets double the original price, plus a whopping $93 service fee.

How $160 tickets turned into $417 tickets

It turns out Blalock bought tickets from a resale marketplace, where tickets are often well above face value. If she had purchased directly from the event's website, we calculated that three general admission tickets would have cost about $160, including fees.

Unfortunately, this happens all too often.

Melanie McGovern with the Better Business Bureau says while consumers are used to getting hit with fees, you may be able to avoid them.

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If the show is in your city, she said, "Check to see if you can buy them from the venue instead of going online. Sometimes those fees are just for online purchases."

For sold-out shows, however, your only option may be resale sites.

If that's the case, the Better Business Bureau says:

  • Compare prices at several sites
  • Account for extra or hidden fees that raise the final price
  • Make sure you purchase from vetted ticket resellers to steer clear of fake ticket scams; check the site's reviews at www.bbb.org

"Using resellers that are on an authorized ticket website," McGovern said, "you have a little bit of recourse if something should go wrong."
Finally, be careful when doing online searches for a particular show. The BBB warns that the top results may be sellers who look like the venue's site but are not. Some even look like Ticketmaster but are copycats of the real site.

Blalock is frustrated.

"Tickets are still available," she said. "It's for general admission, and they are just $45."

We checked with her reseller and found the site did nothing wrong or illegal. So, all she ended up with were very expensive third-party tickets and a warning she wanted to share with other concertgoers.

So use caution when buying tickets, so you don't waste your money.

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