August 29, 2006 Sean Burns
By Christine Paluf
Ticket fraud and illegal purchase activity has lead to the cancellation of over 1,000 concert tickets to Barbra Streisand’s fall tour, according to a release from Ticketmaster overnight. Reportedly purchased with fraudulent credit cards, the tickets have been invalidated.
“It is a serious violation of the law to try to buy concert tickets using stolen credit card information and, when successful, to resell those tickets to unknowing consumer victims through resale web sites,” said Sean Moriarty, President and COO of Ticketmaster in a statement.
The problem for ticket holders is that they must replace their tickets. For Ticketmaster, the issue may be either that they were bought with fraudulent credit cards, or that the tickets were found on secondary reseller sites. Ticketmaster has previously cancelled tickets for Tom Petty and Kylie Minogue concerts, because of the discovery of tickets on secondary sites.
Ticketmaster representative Bonnie Pointdexter said “It was a credit card issue. The tickets were purchased with a fraudulent credit card, which was discovered subsequent to their purchase.”
Streisand’s publicist insists the same is true. “The issue was not that the tickets were found on resale sites. I mean, they [Ticketmaster] discourage largely any form of scalping, but over 1,000 good fans of hers were liable to be disappointed if they were not refunded their money.”
The large amount of invalidated tickets may be due in part to the success of this tour.
“The issue isn’t peculiar to Barbra,” Streisand’s publicist continued. “But it may be more aggravated because of the large numbers of ticket sales. Lots of people are very intent on getting tickets.”
“With the Streisand tour the unusually high number of incidents of fraud has prompted us to issue this specific warning,” Moriarty’s statement added. “A list of the Streisand tickets that have been cancelled to date is available for reference on Ticketmaster.com at www.ticketmaster.com/barbrastreisand.”
“This information should have been available two months ago,” said Don Vaccaro, CEO of TicketNetwork.com. “TicketMaster needs to take a more proactive stance on credit card fraud. It appears as if anyone can order tickets through TicketMaster for an event using a stolen credit card number and use the tickets.”
Fans that purchased tickets that were affected on the dates of Oct. 4, 11, 13, 18 and 30, as well as Nov. 2, 4 and 18th received cancellation notices from Ticketmaster via email.
Michael Cohl, the tour’s national promoter, said in a statement that “With the overwhelming number of cancelled tickets accessible for sale in the secondary market, it’s imperative that we warn consumers that Barbra Streisand tickets purchased from unauthorized resellers may not work at the door on the night of the show.”
“In this case Streisand and the venues lose money, the fans who previously purchased tickets lost access to better seats and the industry as a whole loses credibility,” Vaccaro said. “If TicketMaster used the same vetting procedure as secondary market brokers do, this would have probably not happened.”
“The only way for fans to know that their tickets are valid is to purchase their tickets from venue box offices or from Ticketmaster,” Cohl wrote.
A representative for concert promoter ICM said the company “did not have a comment in this case.”
When buying tickets, the safest avenue to prevent losing money on cancelled tickets is to purchase them using a credit card, so that there is a traceable transaction path. Also, when buying from the secondary market, using a reputable broker, one certified by the NATB or that has an actual store front is another way to reduce the risk of buying fraudulent tickets.