New Consumer Safety Report Published: Purchasing Tickets Safely from Ticket Brokering Websites

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Consumer reviews website has published a new report offering tips to consumers for making safe purchases from third parties on ticket brokering and exchange sites such as StubHub and TicketsNow.

The secondary market for online tickets has been a booming industry in recent years, with the market topping $3 billion in 2011. The economic slowdown has done little to hamper the growth of this dynamic industry, as consumers seek to save money and entrepreneurial ticket sellers look to earn a profit on secondary markets. Sites like StubHub and SeatWave have grown immensely and are now vibrant marketplaces where buyers and sellers connect to exchange tens of thousands of tickets each month.

As more consumers buy tickets on secondary exchanges, the risk from fraudulent sellers is also on the rise. Knoji has compiled a report outlining some key primary tips consumers should keep in mind when purchasing tickets from sellers online.

The report highlights some common problems encountered by consumers when buying tickets from online sellers as well as some common sense tips to help maximize the chances of a successful transaction. Highlights from the report are included below.

Avoid using Craigslist - instead use a reputable, brand-name secondary exchange. Consumers should avoid transacting on Craigslist when possible, and instead use a brand name exchange such as StubHub, TicketLiquidator or AceTicket. Knoji offers a list of valid online ticketing sites which consumers can cross reference to locate a ticket exchange, or to locate consumer reviews on ticket websites prior to making a purchase. Consumers should also utilize the Better Business Bureau to locate a rating on the business prior to making a purchase.

Do not go "off-site" to complete a transaction. One common tactic used by fraudsters is to lure consumers into completing the transaction directly via email, often using an unsecure money transfer such as wire transfer or Western Union. Going offsite means forgoing any policies and guarantees the exchange website offers to protect you from fraud. In order to benefit from these safety mechanisms offered by reputable ticket exchanges, be sure to fulfill your transaction completely on that company's website.

Use a payment method such as credit card or PayPal that offers some level of protection against fraudulent transactions. If you wire your money directly to the seller, you have no recourse to recoup your payment, whereas many credit card companies offer payment protection to their consumers, giving you a chance to recoup your investment in a case of fraud.

Cross-reference ticket and venue information. Always know what the valid physical ticket looks like. You can usually find images of tickets using popular sites like TicketsNow. Ask the seller to provide a picture of the tickets you're buying, including a visible readout of the ticket number. You should also cross-reference the seating chart of the venue in which the event is taking place, and make sure that the seat numbers are valid and that they match up to the seller's description of their location. VividSeats and other top ticketing sites will offer a visual map of each venue.

Verify that the event has not been canceled. One of the most common scams in recent years has been sellers selling tickets for events that have been canceled. Always be sure to check other ticketing sites as well as the event's own website to be sure that the event has not been canceled.

Extra precautionary steps when buying season tickets. If you're purchasing season tickets, you should take extra care to avoid common fraudulent schemes. First, ask the seller for their season ticket account number, and call the vendor to be sure that their number is valid and matches their name. Secondly, ask the seller to provide you with a receipt of the original season ticket purchase. One common scam is for a seller who only owns a portion of a given season's tickets to sell fake tickets to make up what they don't actually own. The season ticket purchase receipt will show all the tickets the seller actually purchased, giving you proof of what they own.

Consumers can find in-depth consumer advocacy reports like this one, in addition to reviews and forums on thousands of companies, on Knoji's acclaimed consumer reviews website. Knoji also offers an in-depth survey of online ticketing sites and companies.

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