A ticket broker buys their stock from season ticket holders, public sales and other contacts. They hope to make money by selling them at a marked-up price.
Most of the California ticket broker companies offer tickets to theater, concerts and sporting events. A few of the most popular annual events that you may also want to use them for include the Rose Parade, Pageant of the Masters and Hollywood Bowl.
What to Look for When Choosing a California Ticket Broker
- What are the fees? Prices that look cheaper at first can turn out to be more expensive when you get to checkout, where some California ticket broker companies add significant "service charges."
- How long have they been in business? There are plenty of Califonia ticket broker companies who have been around for five to ten years or more. They have better sources and a track record you can check up on.
- What's their reputation? The California ticket broker companies listed below are all Better Business Bureau members. You can also check on them at the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
What to Expect When Buying from a California Ticket BrokerBuying from a California ticket broker is different than buying through a box office. Here's what to expect:
- You'll buy at market value, which may be higher than the face value. You're paying the California ticket broker for convenience (no standing in line or speed-dialing the box office) or to get seats not available elsewhere.
- Sales are final, with no refunds for any reason except a cancelled event. However, some California ticket broker companies offer to help you sell to someone else if you can't attend.
- Most California ticket broker purchases are shipped with an adult signature required, and most will charge for shipping. Some companies guarantee delivery before the event.
Alternatives to Using a California Ticket BrokerIf you're looking for a bargain price for a sold-out event, a California ticket broker is not the way to go. Try these options instead:
eBay or craigslist: Most people selling through these websites are individuals who got stuck with tickets they can't use, but they're also frequented by ripoff artists. If you choose to buy through eBay, be sure you check the seller's feedback and avoid new sellers if you can. For both services, be sure to get the seller's physical address and telephone number in case of problems (and call that telephone before you complete the transaction to be sure it's valid). The bigger the event, the higher your chances of getting cheated. You may be better off to pay a little more to a California ticket broker and be sure you're getting the real thing rather than risk losing your money.
StubHub: This service claims to broker transactions between individuals, but in fact, many of those selling through them are brokers. By the time you add their fees to the price, you'd might as well be buying through a regular California ticket broker anyway.
Scalpers: It's legal in California to sell tickets at more than their face value, but scalpers must have permission from the venue to sell on their property. However, it can still be risky for you to buy from them. If you're determined to try, these tips may help you keep from getting cheated:
- Know what the ticket looks like. Politely ask someone who's going in if you can see theirs, explaining why.
- Bring a seating chart. Unscrupulous scalpers may show you an altered one.
- Bring cash.
- Test the seller by asking if they'll walk to the gate with you. If they're reluctant, it could mean the tickets are fake and they don't want to be nearby when it's discovered.
- Be patient. You may get a better deal if you wait until just before (or just after) the show starts.