Counterfeit tickets – Caveat venditor

Counterfeit tickets - Caveat venditor

counterfeit tickets

Counterfeit tickets - Caveat venditor

As it relates to the issue of counterfeit tickets, we are all familiar with the Latin phrase Caveat emptor, meaning "Let the buyer beware". A lesser known axiom, but just as important, is Caveat venditor - Let the seller beware.

Why do we blog this? The morning news headlines reinforce the need for eternal vigilance against counterfeit tickets, for consumers and venues alike. The longstanding issue of counterfeit tickets isn't going away anytime soon but you can put the tools into place at your event to keep them from impacting your bottom line. In this post we examine the latest examples of the plague that is counterfeit tickets and what to do about it.

$800.00 life lesson

This morning's news included a new instance of counterfeit tickets, this time for Justin Beiber's concert in Edmonton Canada. Having not been able to buy Bieber tickets the day they went on sale, a fan had read through the local classified ads. In one ad was the too-good-to-be-true offer of seats in the sixth row for $800.00. The fan arrange to meet the seller in person and paid the full amount.

Unfortunately the tickets were counterfeit, and the Bieber fan's circumstance is now part of a investigation by the police department.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course and reading the account of this latest scam may make you think that the Bieber fan should have been more cautious, but the exuberance of youth includes a lack of experience. A lack of experience often comes at a price, in this case that price is $800.00

Edmonton police detective Dave Radmanovich spoke directly to the heart of the matter for consumers when he urged people to be extremely cautious about buying tickets:

It is better to go through the original ticket office or a reputable online ticket reseller, he said, since fraudsters can print off fairly legitimate looking tickets with a home printer or photocopier.

Caveat emptor

Even the most rational of people may consider buying tickets from less than optimal sources because their emotional passion for their favorite artist get the best of them.

Champion consumer protection website The Consumerist insists that the public be smart about buying tickets and has written frequently on what to watch out for. Counterfeit protection instructions from the Consumerist always contain “Be skeptical” of any offers for tickets in classified ads and end with “Buy from the official source”.

Bill Patterson, vice president of anti-counterfeiting service OpSec says to just stay away from tickets on Craiglist, period.

One of the first things we tell people is don't buy your tickets off Craigslist, I buy all sorts of stuff off Craigslist. I would not buy tickets there.

The buyer has resources to help them avoid counterfeit tickets scams, but what about the venues? Counterfeit tickets are as much of an issue for those who put on events as they are for consumers.

Caveat venditor

Implementing an effective counterfeit ticket policy starts with the clearly stated message to the ticket buying public that they, the event organizer or venue, are the only official source of tickets, as seen below.

Be the official source of tickets

After making all very aware of the importance of only buying from the original source is the use of ticket stock that is difficult to forge. These ticket printing mediums are specially made from very high quality materials and often contain additional countermeasures like ultra violet and thermochromic inks or holographic foil.

Anti-counterfeit measures with print-at-home PDFsFinally the last line of defense is at the admission gate where the onus is on the venue to implement anti-counterfeiting measures - but unlike the consumer, the venue must perform this defensive measure efficiently since time is money. Handheld laser barcode scanners, UV light stands,and a savvy, well trained staff are the pillars of effective counterfeit prevention at the gate.

Counterfeiting of event tickets is widespread problem for venue owners, event promoters and fans and the online ticket software you use is an import part of stemming the fake ticket tide. The ThunderTix staff have extensive knowledge of ticket printing and barcode scanning and access to that knowledge is a benefit of having a ThunderTix account.

When and where counterfeit tickets will strike next is unknown, but it is best to be prepared with the tools and technology ahead of time, before its too late.


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  1. […] at Harvey Mudd can read our guides on event safety and security, best practices for staving off counterfeit tickets and the advantages of selling/distributing tickets […]

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