In some cases, Ticketmaster is allowing customers to resell their paperless tickets, but the move can result in a loss to the seller, and those resale transactions can only take place on the company’s Web site.
Ticketmaster and its new parent company Live Nation Entertainment have long touted paperless ticketing as a major initiative this year and beyond, in part because of the convenience it affords consumers, the security it carries and because the technology can eliminate the transfer or resale of those “tickets.” Once a paperless ticket is bought online, the technology requires consumers to swipe at the gate a credit card or magnetic-stripped ID to gain entry to an event.
Critics have complained about the lack of transferability of paperless tickets – whether to friends or family, or for resale on the secondary market – and also that consumers cannot buy such tickets with cash at the box office.
Kings of Leon is allowing customers to resell their paperless tickets, and so is John Mayer, who this week announced the decision to allow paperless resale for his upcoming summer tour.
In both cases, paperless resale is only permitted on Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange Web site. But while the practice may offer conveniences and a secure, pre-determined resale marketplace, fans who opt to resell their paperless tickets could end up doing so at a loss.
For example, TicketNews looked at the August 5, 2010, Kings of Leon show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.
Paperless tickets for that concert carried a face value of $61.50 per seat, and with a $15 convenience fee the total cost was $76.50. See the screenshots below; some personal information has been blacked out.
As is stipulated when a fan decides to resell the ticket, the maximum price they can list the ticket for on TicketExchange is $73.80, which is below the $76.50 they originally paid for it. With fees, the new buyer would pay a total of $86.20.
The reseller is also on the hook for a sellers fee of $10.40, which brings the final proceeds of the sale to $63.40, or about 83 percent of what the fan originally paid for the paperless ticket.
“Not only do they control the market you can resell the ticket on,” said one ticket broker, who asked not to be identified. “They only let you make a percentage of the face price. You go to resell it and you’re automatically taking a loss.”
A spokesperson for Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment did not return a message seeking comment.
Veritix, which competes with Ticketmaster in the paperless ticketing space, allows consumers to resell their paperless tickets in a similar, closed system as Ticketmaster, but the company generally does not imposed caps on what a seller can charge.