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How safe are tickets sold on Vivid Seats, StubHub and SeatGeek?

Woman buys bad ticket, turned away from concert
Posted at 10:48 AM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 11:24:19-04

If you want to see a concert, and the original tickets on Ticketmaster are sold out, many of us now turn to resellers like Vivid Seats, Stub Hub and SeatGeek.

But can you trust those tickets?

One Colerain Township, Ohio woman says she is not sure she does anymore, after she was turned away from a recent concert.

Downloaded ticket not accepted

Elizabeth Ghea is a single mom who wanted a break, and a chance to see one of her favorite alternative bands, Shinedown.

"I got online and bought a floor seat ticket from Vivid Seats," she said. She said she paid a reseller $130.24 using her credit card.

She then downloaded the Shinedown ticket to her phone.

But after an hour drive to Wright State University, she got some bad news from the security team at Dayton's Nutter center.

"They looked at my phone," she said, "and told me, 'We are not accepting these tickets. Only printed paper copies for the floor were sold. Therefore these tickets you bought online are not valid.'"

She says the box office offered to sell her an upper level seat to the show, but she says she didn't have another $40 to spend, after having already spent $130.

So she turned around, and drove an hour home, disappointed.

Ghea says neither the venue nor Vivid Seats can fully explain the reason her ticket was denied.

"Vivid Seats said they didn't think it was their responsibility I was denied access," she said, "claiming it was a genuine ticket and there should not have been a problem we with me using it."

Ticket sites offer guarantees

If you are purchasing tickets from Craigslist or a street corner, there is no guarantee of a refund if those tickets turn out to be bad. Many people lose hundreds of dollars buying fraudulent or duplicate tickets (where someone else has the original).

But if you are buying from a trusted reseller like Vivid Seats, StubHub or Ticketmaster's resale site, there are protections in case those tickets are fraudulent.

So what happened here? A spokeswoman for the venue tells us floor seats were paper tickets only for security reasons. She says no digital tickets were sold for the floor, which means Ghea's ticket had to be a fraudulent.

And while Vivid Seats says the ticket appeared legitimate, we reached out to the site's management which is now investigating.

Elizabeth Ghea says $130 was a lot of money for a single mom who works two jobs to support her young children.

"It is to me," she said.

Resale sites are safer than buying from a street vendor, but in the end nothing is as safe as the box office or the original tickets sold by Ticketmaster.

And no matter where you bought tickets, try to get to the show early, just in case you have a problem getting in.

As always, don't waste your money.


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