Each year thousands of UK music fans claim to feel ripped off by so-called secondary ticketing platforms. More than 50 per cent of the UK public consider it difficult to distinguish between authorised primary ticket sellers and unauthorised secondary sites.
With tickets for huge shows such as Ed Sheeran and Adele selling out in minutes, the market is awash with sites advertising tickets at hugely inflated prices that also often come with a lot of hidden costs at booking, and then turn out to be invalid.
It’s an issue that affects everyone who has ever bought a ticket for a music gig or live show or popular sporting event. Where do you go to buy a ticket safely? How do you avoid getting ripped off? Is the ticket genuine?
In the wake of the Advertising Standards Authority this week announcing it is clamping down on misleading marketing on secondary sites, primary ticket seller Gigantic – the third largest ticketing agency in the UK – shares its guide for getting hold of in demand tickets safely for the hottest shows.
1 Look for the STAR
Get to know what ticketing websites are primary and secondary. STAR – the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers – is the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry in the UK. All STAR members are primary agencies and abide to follow a code of practice: https://www.star.org.uk/all-me mbers.
2 Subscribe and stay in the know
Once you’ve distinguished what sites are in fact primary ticket sellers, sign up to its mailing list. You’ll receive regular updates of what is going on sale in advance; can set reminders and have the best chance of getting tickets the moment they go on sale.
3 Research before you buy
The official website for the artist or event should always be your first port of call, as it will tell you when and where to get tickets from. The site will provide links to ticket agencies that have been allocated tickets directly from the event promoter. You can also check the artist or event’s social media channels for ticket links. Plus, don’t forget to check for any purchase restrictions that may be in place, i.e. the lead booker needs to attend and all arrive together.
4 Miss out? Don’t fret!
If tickets sell out then don’t fret. Quite often extra tickets are added for shows at a later date. By signing up to the venue’s and agency’s waiting lists, these additional tickets will become available and you’ll be notified.
5 Branch out
Consider your options. Is the artist you want to see performing elsewhere? How about a UK city break or weekend trip to Europe to see your favourite band? If you’re able to be flexible and the budget allows it then tickets might still be available in other locations.
1 Research on consumer attitudes to secondary ticketing (Oct 2017) – Fanfair Alliance, the campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting: http://fanfairalliance.org.