By Bill Hudson

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — From major league sporting events to those must-see concerts, tickets nowadays are little more than a mouse click away. So, how do you know if a ticket is real?

On Lizzi Kongsvik’s kitchen counter, she’s working her laptop trying to find a pair of concert tickets at a price she can afford.

“I’m looking for Taylor Swift tickets,” said Kongsvik, who is a college student. “I’ve always been a big fan of hers.”

On Tuesday, country star Taylor Swift kicks off back-to-back nights at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. Kongsvik wants to go, but she’s on a tight budget.

“I don’t want to purchase $100 tickets that when I get to the concert they don’t scan and I don’t get in,” said Kongsvik.

However, that’s the gamble many of us take after buying tickets from private sellers on eBay, Craigslist or perhaps from a “scalper” out on the streets.

How does one know when a ticket is legit?

“My best advice is buyer beware,” cautioned Xcel Marketing Manager, Kelly McGrath.

McGrath says that outside of buying directly from the box office or through a ticketing partner like Ticketmaster, there are no guarantees. Cash transactions are impossible to trace and leave the buyer with little to no recourse.

“A ticket that’s purchased in any other manner, we have no way of guaranteeing that that ticket is valid,” McGrath said.

At Minneapolis ticket broker, TicketKing, manager Michael Nowakowski admitted, “it could be the last ticket in the world and I wouldn’t buy a ‘ticketfast’ ticket.”

He’s referring to the kind of electronic or e-mailed ticket that allows a buyer to print from a home computer. They are great for convenience and last minute ticket buying, but can be a real gamble if you are buying one second-hand. That’s because they are easily duplicated by unscrupulous sellers.

TicketKing buys and resells tens of thousands of tickets to all kinds of events, but Nowakowski says the broker will only do business with the real thing.

“Try not to buy a ticket that isn’t a traditional ticket stock,” Nowakowski said.

That’s because there is far less chance the ticket is phony since it actually looks like one, and not just a barcode on a sheet of white paper.

Now, Kongsvik is taking her search a step further. She’s now demanding proof. She is asking sellers to text her a photo of not only the actual tickets for sale, but also the original buyer’s receipt. It’s just another bit of comfort to make sure that ticket to the concert is worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

“I’m a poor college student and I can’t afford to lose $100,” she said.

Comments (21)
  1. Mike says:

    “I’m a poor college student and I can’t afford to lose $100,” she said.

    If your a poor student, can you really afford to waste your money this way?
    Save your money and listen to her recordings…….
    It is a very, very rare concert that is worth $100 and in the 35 years I have been to shows, I have never paid that much to see one entertainer and not one of them was worthy of that price, not one!
    Don’t be a sucker.

  2. Jim says:

    One sided article trying to scare away those who do not buy at face or higher. Like the previous commenter, I stopped paying outrageously high prices years ago for, many times, 1.5 hr – 2 hr concerts and, sometimes, lackluster by big ego bands. One can almost always find good seats, or at least get your fanny in the show, under face and sometimes well under.

    With common sense and patience good tix can be had from ebay sellers with great ratings (stay away from those with no/low ratings). On Sunday just bought 2 tix on ebay for Taylor Swift/Excek, sect 103, row 10 for $75/ea. Another pair same sect/row dropped to 65 afterwards.

    Funny, TicketKing guy would not buy TicketFast but surely would sell them as you can see on their website. If you buyt TF at the arena, have the seller walk to the gate with you. Again use common sense.

  3. Sue says:

    I’ve bought green bay tickets on ebay and have purchased countless number of tickets off of stub hub. Never had a problem. Just always look for people with good ratings. It seems this article is bias and only wants you to purchase from ticketmaster or box office.

  4. jenna says:

    I dont buy tickets from people on the street, but I have never had a problem buying from Ticket King before and I appreciate that they are local – so my money stays local and if I did have a problem, I would have an office to go to.

  5. תקליטנים says:

    I was recommended this blog by means of my cousin. I am no longer certain whether this submit is written by way of him as nobody else know such distinct about my problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

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