We appreciate that secondary ticketing can divide opinions and is sometimes portrayed in a negative way, and while we don’t expect to change the minds of everyone, we do hope that some of our answers to the more frequently asked questions can give a little bit of balance to the discussion.
Is it legal to buy and sell tickets?
Yes it is. There are some types of tickets, such as football tickets or tickets for special one-off occasions, that have very strict restrictions on their resale, but for events in general it’s perfectly legal to both buy and to sell tickets.
What about tickets with someone else’s name on?
Most tickets have at least the surname on of the person who purchased the ticket, but tickets like this can still be sold or transferred or given to family or friends as gifts. If there are specific restrictions on who can use a ticket imposed by promoters, such as events requiring lead bookers to attend or to show ID (these are very rare), then this information must be disclosed by sellers prior to purchase.
Where is the best place to buy tickets?
Our Buying Guide page has a list of websites as well as tips and links. The best place to buy will depend on what criteria you’re using – whether it’s cost, convenience, quality, and ultimately that’s up to each individual consumer to decide.
How do I know if a website is genuine?
Again, the best place to start is our Buying Guide and the lists and links on that page. It’s also worth reading our Consumer Help page which touches on this subject and has some useful links.
Is ASTA just a members’ group for so-called ticket touts?
No, we are an organisation that represents the views and regulates the practises of ticket brokers involved in the resale of event tickets. Ticket touting is something of an old school expression that isn’t really indicative of what goes on in the industry today. It’s a term that is often used in a negative context by those who are opposed to tickets being resold above face value under any circumstances. We have a different viewpoint and lots of people from various different walks of life need and benefit from the services provided by ticket brokers.
Why is there a need for secondary ticket agents or ticket brokers?
Because of the way people live their lives, because people want choice and flexibility, and because of the way tickets for events go on sale to the public. Lots of people miss out on the opportunity to buy the tickets they want when they first go on sale - people who weren’t online when tickets went on sale because they didn’t know or because they had other commitments. Or because at that time they didn't even know if they could make the date. And people who want specific types of seats for a specific number of people and rely on brokers to do their work for them. Secondary ticket agents and ticket brokers also ensure there is 24/7 availability of tickets to events from the moment they go on sale until the moment a concert starts, giving everyone the opportunity to buy tickets at a time that suits them.
But if ticket brokers didn’t buy tickets, wouldn’t that mean that more tickets went to fans?
For popular events demand will always outstrip supply, and ticket brokers provide a service to a variety of different people, including those who aren’t able to get online at specific times, or have other specific requirements. Only allowing those people who have no commitments at 9 o’clock on a Friday morning to buy tickets would be unfair on those that have jobs or appointments or responsibilities and are happy to use secondary websites or ticket brokers at times more convenient to them to secure their tickets.
Why are prices on secondary websites sometimes so high?
Secondary websites add on a lot of fees to the actual amounts sellers or ticket brokers set as prices. And sometimes the original cost of tickets was high in the first place. Secondary websites should provide full breakdowns of their fees as well as the total all-inclusive price per ticket and per booking to allow buyers to make informed decisions.
Should I be concerned if tickets are cheaper on secondary websites than on primary websites?
Not at all, it’s very common for tickets on secondary websites to be less expensive than buying from primaries. Sometimes promoters misjudge the pricing of their events, or brokers have extra tickets to sell, and the price on secondary websites comes down significantly after the initial on sale surge.
Sometimes tickets are advertised for tens of thousands of pounds, surely this shouldn’t be allowed?
It’s unfortunate when secondary ticketing websites and ticket brokers are criticised, and the morality of the whole industry called into question just because someone on social media or one reporter at one newspaper writes a story about two tickets listed for sale on a website at a ridiculously high price. People that list tickets like that aren’t ticket brokers or professional sellers, they’re just chancers, hoping to get lucky. Try listing a clapped out old Ford Fiesta on eBay or in AutoTrader at £80,000 and see if it sells. The tickets people list at those prices won’t sell, they’re wasting their time, they’re nothing to do with the industry, and it just creates misleadingly bad press.
And what about people who end up buying tickets they can’t afford because they panicked and misread the price?
No responsible broker wants to hear that someone who bought their tickets on a secondary site is in financial peril as a result. Stories like this benefit nobody, and there are steps regarding clarity on fees and costs that secondary websites must take to help stop this kind of thing from happening.
How do I know if I’m buying a genuine ticket and not a fake?
All tickets sold by ASTA members are valid. No reputable broker and no secondary exchange website wants members of the public being turned away from venues or having tickets that aren’t valid, and everyone within the industry needs to work towards ensuring it doesn’t happen.
How can I tell if tickets being sold on secondary websites are from ASTA members?
Currently there’s no way for an ASTA member to show this on any of the secondary sites. But if you are planning on buying tickets from a secondary site, look for ticket listings being sold that show the business details of the seller – that means you’re buying from someone who’s reliable and an established trader that won’t let you down, and not a random person with no history of fulfilling their obligations.
Where can I read a bit more about the secondary ticketing industry?
The Institute of Economic Affairs produced a document in January 2018 looking at the role the secondary ticketing industry plays, and the often positive impact it can have. It's worth a read, even if you're sceptical.