Tickets, please

With scalpers buying tickets online en masse and inflating their prices, going to see a game or concert is getting harder.

Last year when the Tragically Hip went on their Man Machine Poem tour tickets for shows were sold out almost instantaneously. This is not unheard of by any means, event tickets are notorious for scalpers who love to buy tickets in bulk then price-gouge. This method of scalping has been growing in popularity and in general it’s not hard to get into.

A simple Google search for ticket bots comes up with programs you can buy to bypass security systems in place that prevent this specific practice. For about $2,000 anyone can get started using ticket bots which run autonomously based on what the user wants purchased.

Knowing how much money that can be made using these quasi-legal programs, one can empathize with why someone might give in to the temptation and buy the hassle-free get-rich-quick software.

Governments and ticket dealers have begun to respond to this problem. Just last month the Obama administration passed a law that bans the usage of ticket bots nation wide. Canada, on the other hand, has been fiddling with the problem for a pinch longer after the outcry following the Tragically Hip tour. In 2015, the government legalized scalping provided tickets could be verified and the seller’s held accountable. It sounded solid in theory since people were doing this regardless, but it opened the floodgates for the ticket bots.

Now, the Ontario Provincial Government plans to roll out laws banning this kind of behaviour this spring. In the meantime, websites that sell tickets have implemented rules and systems to limit the effectiveness of ticket bots.

Ticketmaster’s Terms & Services state, “When purchasing tickets on our Site you are limited to a specified number of tickets for each event (also known as a “ticket limit”). This ticket limit is posted during the purchase process and is verified with every transaction. This policy is in effect to discourage unfair ticket buying practices.”

They go on to state that if they find multiple large order transactions going to the same email address that they can cancel the orders. In other words, Ticketmaster does seem to be aware and concerned with the problem customers face.

Stubhub seems a little less interested in stopping the practice based on its Seller Policies and its statement on price-gouging during the Tragically Hip tour. “As a free and open marketplace,” they stated in a tweet last year, “Stubhub is committed to ensuring fans have access to buy and sell tickets to the events they want to see…”.

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