Ticket scalping is when a person resells their ticket to an event, like a concert or a sporting event, to another person. The purchaser does not buy the ticket directly from the event itself, but rather goes to someone who already owns a ticket to the event, but is looking to get rid of it. The price is determined by the individual who is in possession of the ticket, and it is often a bigger price than the face value they purchased it for. This is because they are looking to make a profit from the sale.
In California, ticket scalping is illegal when done on the grounds of the event. This is a misdemeanor charge that carries a fine as high as $1,000.
While that may be illegal, it is legal to purchase resale tickets online from valid ticket websites such as SeatGeek, StubHub, and Ticketmaster. These sites allow people to search for ticket sales to any number of events in their area. The website is required to:
- Disclose seat locations to the potential buyer before the sale
- Maintain records of ticket exchanges
- Disclose service charge
- Provide refunds if the event is canceled or rescheduled
- Be licensed by a local government agency to act and operate as a ticket resale site
Purchasing resale tickets through these websites are among the most secure ways to get your tickets. You are not being scammed. In the instance that the event is changed, you will get a refund. You will be provided with official records and receipts. Other sites like Craigslist are less secure and the risk of purchasing fake tickets rises. Once a person learns that their tickets are fake, they have almost zero chance of contacting the person who sold it to them and getting their money back.
Always be cautious of where and how you buy your tickets. In general, you should never trust someone who is trying to sell tickets outside of the event itself, on the day of the event. We said this is illegal, yet people do it anyway. Sometimes security will ask these scalpers to leave the grounds, but some go unnoticed and even make a sale, very likely a sale that produced fake tickets.