Consumer Wise: Getting deals on ticket resale websites

By Angie Moreschi, Consumer Wise Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 5:43 AM EST

Jesse Hoyer is a fan of ticket re-sale web-sites. She’s bought and sold tickets for everything from sold-out shows in New York City to Tampa Bay Rays, Lightning, and Bucs games.

“They’re great, especially if you want to go to a regular season game or have tickets you can’t use,” she said.

To get the best deals, patience pays off.

“I wait sometimes until the last day to see if prices drop, because if people don’t think they’re going to be able to resell their tickets, sometimes you actually can get a pretty good deal the day of the show or the sporting event,” Hoyer explained.

Most Popular Sites

There are several ticket resale websites, but among the most popular are StubHub, VividSeats, and SeatGeek.

Hoyer says she’s visited several but likes StubHub best, because it’s user friendly and allows you to sort tickets based on lowest price, best value, or best seats.

“If you want to see what the best bang for your buck is going to be, you’d probably click on 'best value,'“ Hoyer said. “And [with best seats] I like that you can see what the view is like in that particular arena. I found that to be helpful."

Hoyer has also used StubHub to sell tickets for a Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees game she couldn’t go to at the last minute. She ended up getting what she paid for them, minus a service fee.

Depending on which site you use, there are varying service fees, ranging from 10 to 20 percent -- based on the event and whether you’re buying or selling.

“If you’re fortunate enough to be able to wait for a deal to pop up, it kind of offsets the service fee,” Hoyer said.

Ways to Save

According to research, about 40 percent of resale tickets are sold for face value or less.

Before buying a ticket — especially an expensive ticket — it’s a good idea to compare prices on different sites.

“If it’s a hot ticket or something that’s sold out, you want to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off,” Hoyer said. “I’ll go to every site just to see. If something pops up super low, you know it’s probably too good to be true.”

Generally, the pricing on different sites is fairly close, but sometimes you can find cheaper seats that will save you $20 or so. Also, you can often find coupons and promo codes for a particular website, if you do an online search. That can help you save, too.

Risk of Fake Tickets

The more popular ticket resale sites have protection for buyers if you get stuck with a fake ticket. Most will give you a 100 percent money-back guarantee. 

Websites like Craigslist, which recommend meeting a seller face-to-face, also offer ticket resales, but there are fewer protections.

Hoyer said she’s never had a problem with a counterfeit ticket, but she sticks to the main sites.

“Driving out to meet someone I don’t know is not appealing to me,” she said. “I would be afraid of fake tickets doing them off of Craigslist or eBay.”

To guard against getting ripped off with a fake ticket, it’s best to stick with a website certified by the National Association of Ticket Brokers.