About a year ago, I was a fervent Lady Gaga fan. So I was mega-excited when it was announced she was coming to the XL Center in Hartford. I had Ticketmaster loaded on my browser, ready to purchase the tickets the second they went on sale. But of course, Ticket Master was slow to load and within 10 minutes I got a notice that they were all sold out. I was so dismayed. Those dirty scalpers! I needed to see Lady Gaga. You see, I loved her. I scoured StubHub and Live Nation for days, finally buying some relatively decent seats for my cousin and I to see her for a little more than $350 from one of those vendors. The tickets were originally about $60 each. All the while, I cursed those scumbag scalpers.
(Point of interest: Hartford ranks first in sales of scalped concert tickets.)
Well, looks like the state is going to go after the scalpers! Reform is on the way! OK, nothing official yet. But a report has been written! Commissioner Rubenstein, of the state Department of Consumer Protection, delivered a report that says the department received 122 complaints having to do with ticket sales in the last year. All except for two of them had to do with secondary ticket sales.
The main complaint was that consumers thought they were buying tickets directly from a venue, when it was actually a second-party vendor. The deceiving web domains included www.comcast.theatrehartford.com and www.mohegansun.arenaboxoffice.com. They also complained that ticket sellers were not upfront about all the fees.
“Even though young people tend to be more tech savvy, they get fooled just as much,” Fans First coalition president Michael Marion said. “It’s not just people in the older demographics.”
The Fans First coalition is happy that the report does not recommend doing away with paperless tickets. (There was a major battle over this very subject in the state legislature last year.) A paperless ticket is not the same as an E-ticket. In a paperless ticket, your purchase is linked to your credit card, not a sheet of paper. So you need your credit card to check into a venue, basically making scalping impossible.
One of the companies that lobbied against paperless tickets is TicketNetwork, which happens to be based in South Windsor. TicketNetwork also lobbied against ID checks at will call, because that is also a detriment to scalpers. (By the way, TicketNetwork C.E.O. Donald Vaccaro was charged with a second-degree hate crime.)
If you want to get involved, the state legislature’s Commerce Committee is expected to schedule public hearings on the issue.
Oh yeah, as for my issue with the robot scalpers, the report does address that, too. It says that has to be dealt with on the federal level, since those robot programs cross state lines.
I ended up not going to the concert because I idiotically scheduled a trip to California the same week. And I got no buyers when I (very legally) tried to scalp my tickets on StubHub. (Don’t worry, they weren’t wasted. I gave them to my cousin’s friends, who enjoyed the show very much.)