A Denver-based theatre is fighting back against ticket resellers who use Web sites that allegedly fool some customers into thinking the sites are affiliated...

A Denver-based theatre is fighting back against ticket resellers who use Web sites that allegedly fool some customers into thinking the sites are affiliated with the venue.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which operates the Buell Theatre, has received complaints from some fans who were allegedly duped into buying resold tickets at a premium from Web sites they thought were part of the official box office. As a result, the center has posted signs at the theatre drawing attention to its real Web site, according to KMGH-TV.

“Please be advised that The Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized online seller of tickets for Denver Center Attractions (the Broadway touring productions) and the Denver Center Theatre Company (the resident theatre company productions),” the sign states. “Currently there are scalpers, also known as ‘second party vendors,’ selling tickets online at a rate more than double the standard price – and up. Tickets bought through these vendors MAY NOT BE VALID. You could not only be refused admission, but also lose your entire investment.”

The Buell Theatre warning not only warns fans about non-official sites that resell tickets, but also tries to warn ticket buyers that some resellers also peddle fraudulent tickets.

One reseller site, TheatreDenver.net, carries a picture of the Buell Theatre and lists tickets to its shows, but the site carries a disclaimer at the top of the homepage that states it is not part of the Buell, “We are an independently owned and operated site specializing in sales in the secondary market. We are not affiliated with any primary website, venue, or box office.”

The use of such sites by resellers is currently the subject of discussions by the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), which last week proposed new language in its ethics policy to make sure sites clearly stipulate that they are secondary ticket broker sites.

Such sites have been a part of the ticket resale landscape for years, but one broker told TicketNews that with the number of complaints about the sites increasing — and the NATB now looking to them — it is only a matter of time before state or federal legislators also take notice.

“It is not good for anyone other than the marketer of the Web site if a consumer is lured into making a purchase based on a deceptive Web site,” he said. “The customer will often institute a chargeback and the broker will have to defend an order when he likely doesn’t even know which site the order came from. Not fair for either side, and ultimately, it may not be good for the marketer of the Web site, either. Because, one day a process server may show up at his door with a little paperwork from the government.”

The use of such sites will be a difficult one for the NATB to get a handle on, a second broker told TicketNews, because a lot of the group’s members do not use such tactics. NATB President Ken Solky did not return a message seeking comment.

“The NATB is mostly made up of inventory-holding brokers, but a lot of the marketers of these types of sites don’t hold any inventory, and they’re not members of the NATB,” the second broker said. “It’s the same type of guys who are successful e-commerce marketers, and to them a lot of this is a free speech issue. They feel they can put up a Web site and call it whatever they want.”