eBay tickets?
September 20, 2010 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Is it safe to buy concert tickets on Ebay?

I just found out about an upcoming concert that is unfortunately sold out. So, I turned to eBay and found tickets to the show. I contacted the seller. He said he would email me .pdf files of the tickets once the PayPal transaction was complete.
Does this sound legit? Is that the way concert tickets are distributed these days? Is there any way of verifying that the tickets are legit and not just a photoshop job?
posted by bstreep to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I go to a lot of shows and I've never heard PDF-based distribution of tickets. It makes no sense. None of this sounds remotely legit. Stay away.
posted by griphus at 5:54 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

check his other auctions, feedback, figure out why he has extra tickets. why are you doing this electronically? aren't you both in the same city? can you do the sale at the venue - both of you meet up down there, show the tickets to the box office, buy them, and know you have legit tickets.

any time you buy concert tickets on the secondary market, you're in danger of being ripped off.
posted by nadawi at 5:54 PM on September 20, 2010

Here's the thing, the tickets can certainly be legit; Print At Home is delivered as a PDF.

The primary issue at that point is that you're hoping that he doesn't sell them a bunch of times. Naturally, this would lead to a LOT of really pissed off people and a bunch of trouble for him, but there's nothing stopping him.

At that point, whoever got to the gate first wins.

On that note, I've definitely done it before, with success. And sold them, to boot.
posted by disillusioned at 5:54 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agree 100% with disillusioned - PDF tickets are legit, but there's no way to ensure that you're the only one holding a copy of the ticket.
posted by muddgirl at 5:57 PM on September 20, 2010

I've bought PDF versions of tickets to sports events from third parties before with no problems. Your experience may vary.
posted by halogen at 5:59 PM on September 20, 2010

Oh, my mistake, I thought you meant, like, a PDF of the actual tickets, which was really puzzling. Yeah, Print-At-Home is totally legit, but the risks outweigh the benefits here unless you're made of money.
posted by griphus at 5:59 PM on September 20, 2010

Check his feedback. If he has a long history on eBay and excellent customer feedback then you're almost certainly fine. If he just registered 2 weeks ago or has a spotty record, then pass.
posted by jon1270 at 6:00 PM on September 20, 2010

Check his feedback. Hopefully he sells lots of tickets and has great feedback. If he has no feedback then look for a different seller. Print at home tickets from ticketmaster are indeed delivered in PDF format.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:02 PM on September 20, 2010

If there is one thing I know about, it's buying concert tickets on the secondary market.

Anyone who sells concert tickets on the secondary market for a living is a reliable bet. Anyone who is just a random person who is not is not a reliable bet. More below.

Someone who uses eBay as a major part of their livelihood scalping tickets is not going to want things to go south. But check the feedback and see. If you see everyone saying 'No problem at all," you are likely safe. If you see some people say "It worked out okay" then I would stay away. You don't need hassle. There are a lot of scalpers who will come through but you'll have two hours of agony while they finesse a pair of seats you actually want. I don't want that. I want the tickets you advertised and I want them in my hand and I don't want there to be six layers of excuses as to why not.

As for people who are regular, normal people, you should be wary of both Ticketfast (PDF) and hard tickets. Because these days, you can call Ticketmaster, tell them you never got your tickets. What does TM do? They reissue the tickets by reprinting new ones and cancelling the barcode on the old ones. That gives scam artists real TM tickets on verifiable TM stock and you can know every trick in the book to tell fake TM tickets from real ones and you'll get screwed because it's printed on real stock, they just aren't valid because the barcodes are cancelled. Ticket scalpers who sell online don't do this, dudes on the street going "WHO NEEDS TICKETS" specialize in this method. Also bottom feeders on eBay who have one or two pieces of feedback about tickets do this kind of thing. So, beware there.

As for PDF's, I still would probably not buy Ticketfast from a scalper for a concert but I have done it. I do not recommend it if you are a rookie ticket buyer. As for regular people selling tickets on eBay, my advice is this: You should never do a PDF transaction from a non-pro-ticket-seller unless the buyer has two tickets and is selling you one, and is willing to let you walk into the venue with them, with you going first and seeing that your ticket scans legitimately. If they are willing to do that, then sure, go ahead. If they are selling two of a set of four and are willing, again, to meet you and have one of your party walk in and see that the ticket scans before handing over cash, sure, go ahead. If they get all "well i don't know if I can get there that early" or any other tune they sing you, they're fishy - they've printed 12 copies and whoever gets there first is the one who's going to get in.

There is more, but I'd rather not write a "how to rip people off with concert tickets" guide here on AskMe but you can MeMail me if you'd like more info.
posted by micawber at 6:34 PM on September 20, 2010 [66 favorites]

Try StubHub instead. This place is legit.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:00 PM on September 20, 2010

You can get ripped off on StubHub too. There's no guarantee that Ticketfast or hard tickets are legit on there either. Plus, StubHub charges you and the seller a ridiculous 15% markup on BOTH sides of the transaction. eBay has just as much buyer protection as StubHub does, and a lot of people don't use StubHub because they're either paying 15% over the price of the ticket or losing 15% of the price of the ticket, so you're going to miss out on the better tickets.

I've bought both sports and music tickets on eBay worth hundreds of dollars and have never ever had a problem. You just have to be smart about it.
posted by micawber at 7:05 PM on September 20, 2010

Are you by any chance thinking about going to the Virgin Mobile FreeFest this weekend? Those tickets were only distributed via pdf.
posted by awesomebrad at 9:28 AM on September 21, 2010

Ebay has a buyer's protection program for tickets, but I have no idea how well it works. And even if it does work, you won't know you have an issue until the concert, which is too late.
posted by rtimmel at 2:24 PM on September 21, 2010

I had a friend cancel on an out-of-town show at the last minute, and I managed to sell off the PDF ticket for almost face-value to a seasoned-looking street scalper. He barely glanced at the ticket before handing me the money, which immediately sent up red flags that he didn't care if it was legit or not. I could have easily just printed off an extra copy of my legit ticket and scammed him; or, more appropriately, scammed the poor sap he sold my ticket to.
posted by Adam_S at 8:14 AM on September 23, 2010

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