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Standard fact sheet.

Entertainment 

Buying tickets and ticket scalping 


 

New laws around ticket scalping will come into effect in 2018. Read more about how you will benefit.


 

Organisers of sporting and entertainment events authorise particular ticketing agencies to sell tickets for their events.

Ticket scalping is the unauthorised reselling of tickets for more than the original ticket price. This can occur when someone buys a ticket to an event and can then no longer attend, or by scalpers deliberately purchasing tickets in advance to resell for a profit when an event is sold out.

Many people buy resold tickets as a way to see a major concert or sporting event that has already sold out.

However, buying a ticket from a scalper, whether in person, online or over the phone, carries two main risks:

  • the ticket may not be genuine, or may not be provided at all
  • a ticket bought from a scalper may be cancelled by the event organiser as many tickets carry conditions that restrict their resale or transfer. 

In NSW, ticket scalping is generally not prohibited, except in areas around the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Sydney Football Stadium, and Sydney Olympic Park precinct.

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What should I do when buying tickets? 

When buying tickets you should:

  • Check whether tickets are still available from the event organiser or authorised sellers before buying from a scalper, as most events in Australia do not sell out.
  • Check whether the seller is authorised by the organiser to resell tickets. Contact the event organiser or promoter, or visit the official event website, to find out who the authorised sellers are.
  • Be aware that, if you do buy tickets from a scalper, the tickets may not be genuine or may be cancelled by the event organiser. Check tickets carefully, and read the terms and conditions.
  • Protect yourself by safeguarding your personal information if buying online. Never give out too many details, and never give out your date of birth or other personal identifiers.
  • Only use secure payment methods – avoid money transfers and direct debit, as these can be open to misuse.
  • Research the seller if you can (for example, eBay has a rating system for sellers).
  • Save all transaction records. It is always useful to have documentation to back up any claims you may need to make against the seller.
  • Be aware that you may be committing an offence if you buy scalped tickets for events at venues owned by Stadiums Queensland. In Queensland, it is an offence to buy or sell tickets to events at eight specific Stadiums Queensland venues for more than 10% above the original ticket price.

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What should I do if things go wrong? 

If you experience a problem with a ticket purchased from an authorised ticketing agency, contact the agency first to discuss the problem. Most event organisers and authorised ticketing agencies have their own complaint and dispute resolution processes.

Ticketing agencies selling tickets to live entertainment events may be subject to the Code of Practice for Ticketing of Live Entertainment Events in Australia

This Code sets out standards which relate to:

  • advertising and event information
  • the terms and conditions of sale and entry including the right to refuse entry and the right to evict a consumer
  • lost, stolen or invalid tickets
  • pricing on tickets
  • cancelled or re-scheduled events
  • complaints, refunds and exchanges
  • money received from consumers in advance of an event.

If you experience a problem with a ticket bought from an unauthorised re-seller or scalper, you should try to sort out the problem with them first.

If you paid for the ticket using PayPal, you can contact the PayPal Resolution Centre and may be protected through the PayPal Buyer Protection program. 

If you paid using a credit card, you may be able to obtain a refund from your card provider. 

If a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved, contact NSW Fair Trading for assistance on 13 32 20.

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Why is it sometimes so hard for consumers to get tickets, when scalpers seem to be able to do so? 

Not all tickets to events are available to the general public. A certain proportion of tickets, particularly for major events, are reserved for sponsors, club and stadium members, season ticket holders, corporate packages, and friends of performers.

When tickets go on sale to the general public, they can sell out quickly. Modern ticketing technology allows up to 20,000 consumers to simultaneously purchase tickets online. 

A 2010 review of ticket scalping by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council found that the number of sold out events in Australia is low, and that the offering of scalped tickets for resale, is generally a very small percentage of tickets sold to any given event in Australia.

The review also found that there was no evidence of scalpers having preferential access to tickets.

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What are event organisers doing to prevent ticket scalping? 

Event organisers use a number of different measures to prevent or reduce ticket scalping.

These may include measures such as:

  • staggering the release of tickets to encourage consumers to wait and purchase tickets from authorised sellers
  • placing limits on the number of tickets that can be bought by any one person 
  • allowing tickets to be returned to the organiser for a refund
  • tightening online purchasing to ensure individuals and not ‘computer programs’ are purchasing tickets
  • requiring names to be printed on tickets and checked against photo ID upon entry
  • using electronic ticketing, where tickets are delivered by email with a barcode or stored electronically on a credit/debit card or other card. 

Whether an event organiser chooses to use any of these strategies will depend on a range of factors, including cost and the type of event. You can find out more about the ticketing arrangements for particular events by contacting the event organiser or visiting the event website.

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