June 17, 2017: Consumers Are Being Scammed Into Paying Too Much For Bad Seats To Summer’s Hottest Concerts
This summer, Billy Joel will play to packed stadiums across the U.S., including a one-night-only show at AT&T Park For fans across the Bay Area, this is chance to see their favorite artist play his classic hits. But as is all too often the case, where there’s fun, there’s also fire.
Put simply, unsuspecting consumers are being duped into paying too much for subpar tickets. The problem is fraudulently branded websites that purport to be AT&T Park– or in some cases the band’s official website – a practice outlawed by the Department of Justice, yet that persists because of major ticket brokers and their illegal marketing practices.
The scam is at once simple yet extremely complicated. At its core, two large ticket resale sites – VividSeats and TicketNetwork – are controlling the market by using thinly veiled affiliate websites that to the average consumer look like an official ticket site – This one - for instance. In reality, these sites have nothing to do with the legitimate business and simply sell tickets that are often obtained through the illegal use of “ticket bots.”
In addition to actively deceiving consumers, these sites also artificially control the market. By creating scores of fake sites, the companies can essentially flood paid and earned search results, taking traffic from the actual venues or an artist’s preferred ticket vendor. Another deceptive practice in and of itself, and one that preys on less tech-savvy consumers, like baby-boomer parents and young concertgoers.
Consumer advocacy group, NetChoice, is looking to curb this issue, but it needs help to shine a spotlight on the behavior. Would you be interested in speaking with Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice to discuss the problem and what consumers can do to protect themselves?