Last updated: 20th Mar 2017.
Originally published: 16th Mar 2017
Image: Nick Mizen
We've come a long way from queuing for hours in the pouring rain outside of box offices to get tickets for gigs, but the digital revolution has not been without its drawbacks either. With the power to buy tickets to any gig, anywhere in the world in the palm of our hand, the advances are nothing short of miraculous, but there's one thing in particular that muddies the whole thing - ticket touts.
Whereas sending a cheque in the post or standing in line for hours was time-consuming and tedious, ticket touts had nowhere near the negative impact they have today. With some simple software a scalper can harvest hundreds of tickets to in demand events in seconds, and within minutes have the now sold out tickets on secondary websites for grossly marked up prices.
Groups like FanFair Alliance have listened to the deluge of customer and artist complaints, and decided enough is enough. Joining up with some of the leading ticketing companies, artists and their management, they have pledged to resolutely tackle the scourge of ticket touts.
Their latest practical way to do just that has been to publish an essential 10 step guide for ticket buyers on how to make sure you're getting the best value for money when buying tickets and avoiding the pitfalls that touts and secondary websites like Viagogo, Stubhub and Get Me In! exploit.
You can read the guide in full here, but we've broken down the pointers below to show how we at Skiddle have aligned ourselves with these vital steps.
Want to stay ahead of touts? Make sure you get as many alerts as possible so you know in advance when tickets are going on sale. Our app gives you the option to track artists based on who you listen to on Spotify and who you've liked on Facebook, with push notifications as soon as an event they're playing at is announced (read more about this).
We've also recently introduced a new feature called Remind Me, where once you've viewed an event listing that's not yet on sale and clicked the Remind Me alert, you'll receive a text message and push notification to your phone 15 minutes ahead of your desired event going on sale. This gives you plenty of chance to get to the page and prepare yourself to get tickets as soon as they're available.
Do Your Research
Making sure you're buying from an authorised ticket seller automatically means that you're only being charged the amount the promoter is asking. You'll notice many events will have the Skiddle logo on their flyers and from their social media posts will point to Skiddle as an official outlet.
We go to painstaking lengths to remove sellers and listings offering unauthorised tickets for events. You can trust that any tickets on sale with Skiddle are authorised by the appropriate bodies.
Check for Pre-Sales
Many big events allocate batches of tickets for pre-sale ahead of the general on sales. You can be notified of these by joining the promoter's mailing lists and by registering often via the event listings on our sites. This is their way of rewarding regular customers by giving them first dibs on tickets before everyone else.
Don't Trust Search Engines
Secondary ticketing sites have gone to great lengths to get their results ranking highly on Google, often via paid-for adverts. If it has a little green box with ad in it then that prominence has been purchased - not earned.
So the encouragement is to be savvy about this, avoid main offenders GET ME IN!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo on Google and go to the source of the event for official outlets.
Ahead of your desired events going on sale, make sure you've got an account with the official sellers. On Skiddle this is particularly easy as we offer Facebook integration so you can log in with your Facebook details in a matter of moments. The next step is to make sure your credit or debit card is to hand so you can get those details in within the 10-minute checkout window.
If you're after tickets for a really high demand show then there's a good chance you'll be placed in a queue for tickets due to the sheer volume of fellow fans on the website. Don't panic when this happens but bide your time safe in the knowledge that your place in the queue is secured and there's a good chance you'll get through to the tickets page.
And if it does sell out, check other official sellers (it can help to have a few windows open at the same time with various official sellers open), and keep an eye out for the brand or artist's Facebook and Twitter pages where they'll notify customers where there are tickets left.
If an event sells out on Skiddle get yourself on the Waiting List immediately. Returned tickets listed via Re:Sell or extra allocations from the promoters will be fed back into the system, and the moment this happens you'll be alerted and given 15 minutes to log on and bag the tickets. The higher up the queue you are the greater chance you'll have of getting to go to the sold out event.
Check the Terms & Conditions
Artists and managers are taking tougher stances to deter touts, including limiting the transferability of tickets - terms and conditions will alert you to the rules in place. Tickets are often personalised with the name of the person who booked the tickets - in this scenario expect to show ID along with your ticket to actually gain entry.
If for any reason you need to change the name on the ticket, this can only be arranged by phoning Skiddle, which is another safety measure in ensuring tickets aren't being sold on for profit by touts.
Resist 'Secondary Ticketing' Websites
It's so easy to do - you've missed out on tickets and you're so gutted that you're determined to get them at all costs, and you end up on a secondary site, tempting yourself to just take the hit and pay over the odds for them. Well, touts know exactly what you're going through and are mercilessly looking to take advantage.
When hundreds sometimes thousands of tickets appear on these sites the moment they've sold out elsewhere, prices are at their highest while customers are at the most desperate and vulnerable. That accompanied with buying themselves to the top of Google results and a barrage of emails to potential customers mean that they're out in force, playing on your fears - don't get suckered in.
If an event does sell out this quickly, there's a very good chance extra dates will be added or extra tickets will be released nearer to the time of the show. It often pays to play the waiting game.
Re-Sell at Face Value
We introduced Re:Sell back in June 2016 and it's proven to be one of our most popular features. If a customer can no longer attend an event they've bought tickets for they can put their tickets up for Re:Sell, and should the event sell out customers in the Waiting List will get the chance to buy the ticket.
The original customer gets the face value of the ticket back, and the customer in the Waiting List also gets to buy the ticket at face value without touts getting a sniff of the action - a resounding win for both sides.
Act Like a Fan, Not a Tout
While it's easy to complain about touts ripping off customers, if the shoe's on the other foot and you've got prized tickets to a sold out show that you can no longer attend, the temptation to join them and make a small killing from selling it on via a secondary site is very real.
But avoiding the temptation to make a quick buck and simply relisting it with an official outlet will give fellow fans the joy of seeing the artists without being cleaned out financially.
The less secondary sites are used, the quicker their demise will be - be the change you want to see in the world and avoid them altogether.