Beware Paperless Event Tickets

Photo (cc) by joelogon

Last month, I wrote about How to Score Cheap Tickets and Avoid Rip-Offs – the gist being to hit the resale market but watch your back.

Then I got an email from Chris Grimm, a representative of the Fan Freedom Project that started earlier this year. He wrote…

Thought you might be interested in a trend that might make those cheap tickets disappear forever. The trend is restrictive ticketing – like non-transferable paperless tickets or will-call only. These ticketing systems eliminate traditional tickets and instead tie your admittance to an event to your credit card. This practically eliminates the ability to transfer tickets easily, which would mean a lot of those ticket holders who are trying to off-load their tickets at the last minute for whatever price they can get will be stuck.

In other words, with a paperless system, without the purchasing credit card, the ticket goes from “admit one” to “admit none.” The Ticketmaster paperless system is like that, and popular artists like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber use it. It’s far from universal for now, although Ticketmaster’s CEO thinks it eventually will be.

So why the push to paperless? Here’s a blurb from Ticketmaster’s Frequently Asked Questions page…

The event provider (promoter, artist and/or venue) has elected to employ Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing in an effort to best ensure that fans can purchase tickets at the price they initially set for the event.

Basically, they’re saying paperless ticketing prevents scalpers from buying up tickets at face value, then jacking up prices on the resale market. This is kind of funny since artists like Neil Diamond have been caught buying tickets to their own shows and marking them up for resale – with the help of their promoters and Ticketmaster itself. While the less rich and famous among us might sometimes flip a ticket at a higher price to make a quick buck, the resale market also offers the opportunity to purchase tickets cheap, as well as get rid of tickets you can’t use.

This next little bit from Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing FAQ is also amusing, given the questions that follow it: “Fans have unanimously enjoyed the added ease and convenience of their [paperless] experience.”

Unanimously? Convenience? Here are questions after that on the list…

“May I use a ‘Virtual Credit Card’ to make online purchases?”

Nope, because you have to swipe a physical card at the venue, even though virtual credit cards help prevent identity theft.

“What other restrictions should I be aware of?”

You can’t use gift cards of any kind – including those from Ticketmaster itself.

“Can I buy the tickets but not go to the show?”

Ticketmaster says, “If you buy tickets for friends or family, sometimes you only have to go to the gate, not through the gate. Simply accompany them to the venue.” Of course, it’s not simple if you don’t live near the venue.

They then add, depending on the venue’s rules, “Sometimes the ticket buyer must enter the venue with their party.” And how do you know which venues do this? You have to call before you buy. How convenient.

The list goes on. Of course, these are the people who charge a “convenience fee,” remember? (Speaking of fees, you might be entitled to a small refund next year because of a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster.)

And as for unanimous approval of the paperless practice, that’s obviously an absurd claim. For proof, see FFP’s survey of season ticket holders. Or read the Toronto Sun story of an angry mother who couldn’t get her kids into a Bieber show without forking over her credit card and an authorization note. Trusting your teens with your credit card at a venue filled with their heartthrob’s merchandise? Super convenient.

But if you’re worried about the death of the secondary market for tickets, don’t. Because Ticketmaster has its own resale market: TicketExchange, where they take an extra cut on the tickets they already sold by hitting resellers with fees.

One of Ticketmaster’s biggest rivals, resale marketplace StubHub, was the initial backer of the Fan Freedom Project. FFP is doing things like testifying to local governments, voicing fan complaints, and helping them contact legislators. Legislation was recently introduced in Florida to block resale restrictions, New York already has a similar law in effect, and several other states are looking at the issue.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
15 Purchases That Make Life Easier As You Age
15 Purchases That Make Life Easier As You Age

There are many products that can make getting older — or any time of life — a little easier.

Can My Wife Use My Social Security Benefits While Letting Hers Grow?
Can My Wife Use My Social Security Benefits While Letting Hers Grow?

Your self-discipline in not uttering three little words helps determine whether you can use a key claiming strategy.

These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life
These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life

Need a laptop that runs as long as you do? Check out these models.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early
7 Reasons You Should Not Claim Social Security Early

The sooner you claim your Social Security retirement benefits, the more you — and perhaps also your spouse — stand to lose. Here are the stakes.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.