‘Resale’ event tickets online are risky, France warned

It is a risk to buy event tickets from “second-hand” dealers online, either on auction or resale websites, or through platforms appearing to resell tickets at high prices, a European consumer union has warned.

10 June 2019
Sold-out concert tickets often appear online for resale, but consumers should be alert to the risks
By Connexion journalist

Second-hand or “resale” tickets often appear available online for in-demand concerts, gigs or events, and can pop up quickly after the original tickets sold by the venue itself (or its official partners) sell out.

But consumers are warned that buying a ticket in this way can backfire, and may put your ticket and money at risk.

Monique Goyens, director at European consumer union le Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (The European Consumer Organisation; BEUC), said: “Buying a ticket for an event through a non-authorised online vendor is risky and can cost you dearly.”

The online resale of tickets is legal in some circumstances.

In France, the law states that it is “forbidden to regularly resell non-authorised tickets” for events, and anyone who habitually does this for commercial gain - especially if they resell the tickets at a cost far above their original price - is breaking the law, risking a €15,000 fine for fraud.

However, it is legal for an individual who has already bought tickets to resell them, if they find - as a one-off - that they cannot attend the event on that date.

In France, websites such as Zepass and TicketSwap are legal outlets through which people can re-sell tickets, at a price that is equal or less than their original face value.

However, some people have found that buying resold tickets, even legally, has seen them barred from entering the venue, as their ID does not match the original name on the entry. To avoid this, some sites - such as Zepass - advise their clients to attach a copy of their ID card with their tickets.

BEUC also reminds consumers to beware of sites that appear to be selling tickets for higher prices than the original face value, and to be alert to sites that say “Only a few places remaining!”.

This warning can often lead to consumers feeling pressured to buy too quickly, without giving them time to think through their purchase, BEUC said.

Consumers should also ensure that any tickets sent through the post are tracked, to avoid loss. Any sellers who send through La Poste should do so via tracked mail, and the BEUC advises consumers to use a LRAR (Lettre Recommandée avec Avis de Réception) at the minimum.

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