People at a concert

I’ve previously admitted that people hate when you buy tickets with the purpose of reselling. Some artists or venues will try really hard to prevent this from happening. Eric Church even canceled 25,000 tickets purchased by scalpers and re-released them to fans. But for those in the resale biz, it’s a real bummer when you buy tickets that end up being difficult to resell. Here are some of the ways venues have tried to prevent ticket reselling on tickets I’ve purchased.

1. Ridiculously long delivery delays

Hamilton Chicago delivery delay
With this delivery delay, I can’t complete my sale until next December at the earliest!

Delivery delays are no fun. Even if you list your tickets and they sell quickly, you can’t get paid until the buyer gets the tickets. Sometimes the delivery delay is only a week or two which is no big deal.

Recently, I’ve been encountering delivery delays until 48 hours before the event. Before buying tickets with a long delivery delay, be prepared to have your money tied up for months. You also need to keep track of when the delay will be lifted so you can get the tickets to the buyer on time without violating StubHub’s delivery rules.

2. Hamilton tickets that can only be sold if shipped through UPS

This one is a bit of a saga. I bought three pairs of tickets to various Hamilton shows in Chicago for late next year. I always choose electronic tickets since it’s easier to upload to StubHub than walk to UPS with paper tickets. This was a big mistake. After purchasing six tickets total, I found out there as a delivery delay until 45 days before the event. This is a bummer since it would prevent me from getting my money back for almost a year.

Hamilton StubHub requirements
Not only do you have to email StubHub to get approved to sell for Hamilton Chicago, you can only list hard stock tickets.

Even worse, when I went to list them on StubHub, the only option was UPS delivery. Turns out this release of electronic Hamilton tickets were only available as an eTicket on your phone. Once the delivery delay was lifted, there would be no option to print them as PDFs.

I hopped on Ticketmaster’s chat to change my delivery method to a mail order. You have to do this separately for each order since the customer service rep only has access to information for the specific order. The first change request was easy. I felt like I dodged a bullet until the CSR I chatted with about the second pair told me the venue was preventing Ticketmaster from changing electronic tickets to mail delivery for all Hamilton shows. Crap…I closed the chat window and started a new one. Luckily, I got the first guy again who seemed to have not received the memo about Hamilton tickets. He changed my second pair to mail delivery within a few minutes.

Hamilton Ticketmast Resale
The ability to resell through Ticketmaster defeats the venue’s attempts at preventing reselling.

For the last pair, I didn’t have the same luck. I tried talking to two different people who refused to make the change and said they were making a note on my account to specifically not change my tickets. How rude! Luckily, Ticketmaster started allowing resale of these tickets through their fan-to-fan resale. This works for electronic tickets as well. However, I’ll only be able to list my first two pairs on StubHub and I have to hope the third pair sells on Ticketmaster.

3. Will Call as the only pickup method if you live outside a 90-mile radius

This is a new one. Recently, I bought tickets to a comedy show with a strange ticket delivery requirement. There is a delivery delay until 48 hours before the show. Once the delay is lifted, if your Ticketmaster account address is within a 90-mile radius of the venue, you can get your tickets online as a PDF. Otherwise, you can only pick up the tickets at Will Call and you can’t change the name on the Will Call tickets. I’ve got to hand it to them, this one’s pretty creative!

4. Locked PDFs

When uploading a PDF ticket to StubHub, you may encounter an error because the PDF is locked or secured. Don’t freak out, it’s easy to unlock it! Just open the PDF in Chrome by dragging and dropping it into a browser window. Click “print” and “save as PDF”. The saved version will be unlocked. You’re now free to upload to StubHub!

Final Thoughts

Buying tickets can be fun until you have the gut-wrenching feeling that you just spend $1,500 on Hamilton tickets that you may not be able to sell. There’s usually a way around attempts at preventing resale, but it can be scary when you have a lot of money on the line. Always read about delivery delays and requirements BEFORE buying. Sometimes you don’t have time to check out StubHub listing options before buying, so when in doubt, get hard stock tickets!

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One thought on “4 Ways Venues Try to Prevent Ticket Reselling”

  1. I like your article. I have run into a number of issues with venues, Stubhub, & Vivid Seats since I started reselling about 10 years ago. One venue refunded my purchase of tickets based on suspicions I would be reselling them, and they said they have an exclusive partnership with Stubhub for ticket resale. Not sure how that isn’t a monopolistic anti-trust violation preventing consumers from even purchasing their tickets for this reason when the venue itself will be reselling them above face value on their secondary market.

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