terry charles | behind the stage | feb. 2017
The Genuine Article: For event tickets, the rule of thumb is buyer beware!
I have talked about ticket buying in this column in the past. Mostly it was about the best way, if there is a best way, to get tickets. In those articles, I have always mentioned at least a little about making sure you buy from a reputable source. In light of the recent counterfeit ticket situation for the Eric Church concert, because people are easily duped and because so many people just don't understand how things work, I think it's appropriate to set the record straight for safe ticket buying.
The safest way to buy tickets is directly from the venue or its official ticketing agency. For those of us in Northeastern Wisconsin, the majority of tickets are sold by our company, Ticket Star. Ticket Star sells tickets for events at the Resch Center, Meyer Theatre, Weidner Center and others. The PAC in Appleton uses Ticketmaster.
The best thing to do is go to the websites of those venues or their ticketing agency. And make SURE it is the official website! If you're not sure, call the venue and ask what the official website is. Many companies are very clever about disguising themselves on search engines to make it look like the place to buy tickets for the Resch or the Weidner, and they use certain words and photos to make it look legitimate. They can't say “official" on their sites and if you read the fine print, they even disclose in so many words they are not the venue. I'm sure it's very fine print.
Sadly, many people fall for this and buy tickets from those companies and pay far more than face value when there are still face-value tickets available directly from the venue! I recently received a complaint from a customer accusing us of selling $89 Eric Church tickets for $400! The customer was convinced they bought the tickets from us. What amazes me is they buy from the wrong, secondary seller and get scalped, but when they write to complain they somehow figure out how to e-mail the correct venue!
If you're “lucky" you buy scalped tickets and actually get the tickets. You may have overpaid for them but perhaps a concert or event was sold out and you knew the only way to get tickets was on the secondary market. Then make sure you're dealing with a reputable secondary seller. They do exist. Unfortunately, there are scam artists out there too.
For the Eric Church concert in January, two men were arrested for selling counterfeit tickets. We had customers come to the Ticket Star Box Office in the Resch Center questioning the validity of their tickets. We knew immediately they were counterfeit because the perpetrators made one major mistake: they had the wrong ticketing company on the tickets. They had the correct venue, show title and promoter listed, but the wrong ticketing company! The men used a popular website to advertise their Church tickets. So beware if you dare buy event tickets by any means where you might question their legitimacy. If you don't buy tickets from us, there's nothing we can do to help you after the fact.
The Eric Church tickets are a hot commodity because his concerts sell out fast. These and others that sell out fast leave a lot of people disappointed because they didn't get tickets and that makes it ripe for thieves because they have an anxious audience. When you buy a hard Ticket Star ticket it will have the logo in the background like the ticket shown here. As I mentioned the Church suspects didn't even use Ticket Star tickets.
I know people are anxious to see their favorite artists and sometimes an event sells out so fast they get left out in the cold. If you try to buy tickets later, please make sure it is a legitimate seller that guarantees the ticket or maybe call the venue a day or two before the event to see if any additional tickets get released by the tour. Now more than ever ticket buyers need to play it safe and be sure to buy directly from the venue or its official ticketing agency.
Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.