Consumer Alert: Beating ticket bots
If you've ever tried to purchase tickets to a concert or game, you know how hard it can be to find cheap seats.
That's because you're competing with ticket robots, which can purchase thousands of seats, when they go on sale, in seconds.
The individuals and companies using ticket bots then resell those tickets at an inflated price.
“A large percentage of the tickets are scooped up by these bots,” says Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau. “It's unfair practice because people want to purchase these tickets and unfortunately once they're sold and then they resell for a higher value, you just can't afford to do so.”
“One of my cousins went to the Super Bowl and they had to buy a ticket off a third-party website, and it was like $10,000 for the ticket,” says Louis Sikes, who told NBC 10 News that he thinks using ticket bots is an unfair practice.
The problem is big enough that Congress passed a bill last year outlawing ticket bots.
The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 makes it illegal to “circumvent a security measure, access control system or other technological control or measure on an Internet website or online service that is used by the ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online ticket purchasing order rules.”
The BOTS Act also makes it illegal to resell tickets that were purchased using bots.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the BOTS Act is being strictly enforced.
I typed "ticket bots" into an internet search engine, and TicketBots.net was the first result. TicketBots.net sells high-priced ticket bots to anyone with a credit card.
“I deal with it because I can't change it, but I mean if someone could change it that'd be good,” says frustrated ticket buyer Emily Craven.
The good news? Some companies are creating platforms that block ticket bots.
Ticketmaster recently launched a program called Verified Fan, which only allows real human beings to register for tickets before they go on sale. That human being then gets a special code, which is required to purchase tickets.
Ticketmaster has used Verified Fan for more than 50 tours, including Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and Niall Horan.
The company says the program has been successful --- keeping 95 percent of tickets off the secondary market.
Fewer ticket resales means lower ticket prices, which is a win for the artists and the fans.