Seven tips for giving tickets for the holidays – National Consumers League

November 29, 2012

Contact: Chris Grimm, (202)-250-3099,
Carol McKay, (412) 945-3242,

Washington, DC – Are you thinking about giving someone on your holiday gift list a pair of tickets to a fabulous concert or an important game? This could be the gift of a lifetime – or it could be a major disappointment, according to new tips from the Fan Freedom Project (FFP) and National Consumers League (NCL).

“Tickets make great gifts this time of year, but consumers need to watch closely and make sure they know exactly what they are purchasing and from whom,” said FFP Consumer Advocate Elizabeth Owen. Too often consumers are confused and frustrated when they buy and share concert and sports tickets. This holiday guide will give them a chance to better understand the process, and make the best choices possible.”

John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud at NCL added, “Bottom line, we want consumers to enjoy the option of giving sought after tickets as a holiday gift this season.  But as with any purchase, we encourage consumers to know the rules in advance, so they won’t be disappointed, and neither will the recipient.”

To help consumers avoid purchasing fraudulent tickets or even genuine tickets that aren’t transferable, FFP and NCL advises consumers to:

1. Know what type of ticket you are buying: Just because you bought a ticket doesn’t mean you can easily give it as a present. Some events have restricted “paperless tickets, which require the buyer to show up at the venue and present the purchasing credit card and photo ID.  This means you still have to go to the event with them – or they will not be able to get in. This can be inconvenient at the very least, or even impossible if you plan to give tickets to someone who lives far away.

2. Be prepared to pay additional fees: Unlike airline fares, now required by law to include all taxes and additional fees in the advertised price of a ticket, concert and sporting events tickets are not required to include fees upfront, leaving many consumers shocked at the final price of a ticket.

3. Use Reliable sellers: Beware of fly-by-night ticket sellers. If you’re unsure about a company, check with the Better Business Bureau. If you’re buying from a ticket broker, make sure they are members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, whose Code of Ethics requires members to adhere to basic consumer protections.

4. Pay Attention to URLs: Check any website’s URL to ensure that you don’t get duped by an imposter. Remember, even if a website looks like the official site, it may be bogus.

5. Check Your Ticket Vendor’s Guarantee Policy: For example, websites like Stub Hub, TicketsNow, Ace Tickets and All-Shows guarantee every ticket sold on their sites and will replace them or refund money to consumers if they receive wrong or invalid tickets, or if an event is cancelled. Craigslist and other online classifieds sites do not offer such guarantees; it’s “buyer beware” when shopping there.

6. Buy with a Credit Card: Regardless of where you buy tickets, be sure to use a credit card so you can dispute any unfair or unauthorized charges. Before entering your credit card information online, be sure the site has “https://” at the beginning of the website address. This means the site is encrypted and safer for use.

7. Know the Rules: Some venues limit the number of tickets you can buy.


About The Fan Freedom Project

Launched in February 2011, the Fan Freedom Project is supported by more than 150,000 live-event fans and is backed by leading consumer and business organizations such as the American Conservative Union, National Consumers League, Consumer Action, the Institute for Liberty, and Net Choice. For more information, visit

About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit