Beat the Kings of Leon ticket touts
Rock giants Kings of Leon will tour the UK this December in support of their new album Come Around Sundown. The six-date tour sold out in hours - and the few remaining tickets come with a hefty mark-up above the official price. We reveal how to beat the touts and secure must-have gig tickets
They wowed crowds of thousands at Hyde Park and V Festival this summer - and Kings of Leon are set to delight UK crowds again in December during a six-date Arena tour. Yet if you didn’t secure tickets when they went on sale last Friday, expect to pay a hefty premium to get up close and personal with the Followill boys.
At the time of writing, only a few back-row seats for the dates in Sheffield and Birmingham were still available, while premium seats and standing tickets were snapped up in minutes of going on sale.
Yet you can still secure the best seats - if you’re willing to pay a hefty premium to a third-party. General admission tickets for London’s o2 Arena are currently changing hands for upwards of £200 on secondary outlet Getmein.com, while VIP packages are trading for a staggering £750 on eBay - that’s a mark-up of more than 300%!
Demand for gigs shows little sign of slowing during the recession and 2011 promises to be a bumper year for the music industry with new tours promised from, among others, Take That (with Robbie!) as well as stadium rockers Coldplay and REM. So, how can you buy the best tickets at the official price with confidence? We reveal all.
The best way to buy tickets
Your best bet when buying gig tickets is to buy from an official licensed agent which is a member of The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). Leading agents are Ticketmaster, See Tickets and for smaller gigs Ticket Web. These agencies are approved by record labels and share a code of practice that safeguards your consumer rights - particularly in regards to a refund if an event is cancelled.
You will have to trouser various booking fees, postal costs and (my particular favourite) “convenience charges” on top of the official ticket price - but you will enjoy full refund rights on the face value of the ticket. Ticketmaster will also refund the booking fee “in accordance with the guidelines” of STAR. See Tickets, according to its terms and conditions, will in contrast “only refund the face value of the ticket”.
Of course, for top bands competition is fierce - so to get ahead of the throng and find out when tickets are going on sale, it’s worth signing up to each outlet’s email list. If you’re a fan of a particular band, it’s also worth signing up for emails from their official site - many acts offer exclusive “pre-sale” periods for website subscribers. Lastly, concert operators Live Nation and AEG also operate sales direct - often ahead of authorised outlets.
The secondary market
Secondary ticket outlets see ordinary consumers and organised ticket touts pick-up hard-to-find tickets and sell them on for more than the original face value.
So-called fan-to-fan exchanges such as Viagogo, Seatwave and GetMeIn enable individuals to sell on tickets they have already bought. Individuals set the prices for the tickets, not the sites, so you will probably end up paying more than the ticket's face value. Some people make a living out of this - the touts that used to hang around outside sold-out venues buying and selling tickets have simply moved online.
Related blog post
- Tony Levene writes:
This scam is so obscure that top tax experts from leading accountancy bodies admitted they had never heard of it. And it is made even worse by the Revenue's refusal to do anything about it when it receives complaints.Read this post
It may not be ethical but you will at least enjoy consumer guarantees in exchange for shelling out a hefty premium. In response to demand, the concert industry set up these official resale websites (GetMeIn is operated by Ticketmaster) and in the event of any cancellation you can expect full refunds.
The websites also ensure that the tickets in question actually exist and can be tracked during each stage of the transaction. Get more details at each site’s code of conduct, such as GetMeIn’s “Fan Guard” promise.
Ticket outlets to avoid
Beyond the world of the official and regulated outlets lies an altogether more (financially) dangerous black market - and that can sometimes even include eBay. Consumer law states that if tickets are bought from private sellers on the internet or in person then no terms and conditions are stipulated - which means the buyer does not have any set legal rights.
What this means is if you’re not sure how pukka a website is (and you can’t find it on the STAR members register) then don’t buy from them. The consequences could be dire – last summer saw Trading Standards close down a spate of unlicensed ticket websites following chaotic scenes outside the Reading and V festivals as people weren’t issued with tickets they thought they’d bought.
The problem of scam ticket websites - who sell non-existent gig tickets before going to ground - is now so acute that consumer watchdog the OFT this year launched the Just Tick It campaign to name and shame offenders and alerts consumers.