When you log on to a primary ticketing site right at onsale time to purchase tickets for your favorite artist and are still met with no availability, sellers would have you believe that the artist is just that popular.

Sure, hundreds of tickets can sell out immediately when demand exceeds supply in a specific market, coupled with the fact that technology is not perfect and some users will simply get through to the purchase page before others.

However, what Ticketmaster et al don’t tell you is that no tickets available does not mean no tickets are left. It simply means no tickets are available – to you.

Insomniac browser for ticketing professionals

Ticket News has covered stories of holdbacks being exposed through various sources for big events like Hamilton, Bruce Springsteen, and Wimbledon in the recent past. Now, it seems one skeptical customer looking to purchase last summer’s Country Megaticket caught on to the practice themselves.

A consumer complaint filed with the New York State Attorney General details the ticket-buying experience gone awry that led them to believe Ticketmaster may not be releasing its total inventory to the general public for purchase at face value.

The customer describes logging on to the site right at onsale time for two separate presale releases as well as the general public release and still finding entire sections of the 15,000-capacity Jones Beach Theater to be “sold out”.

In a lengthy letter to NYAG, the customer offers a theory that Ticketmaster purposely withheld tickets to this show from sale on their own site in favor of offering them on secondary sites for inflated prices. They cite secondary website jonesbeach.com as having tickets available for resale immediately after the primary sell-out.

Below is the full Consumer Frauds NYC complaint submitted to NYAG Consumer Bureau by an anonymous complainant on January 30, 2017.

“I am writing to you because I am concerned that the Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh NY may be withholding concert tickets from the general public and scalping them at higher prices without ever offering them for public sale.

Ticket Club ad - members of this ticket resale platform can purchase tickets with no service fees. Click this ad to go to Ticket Club and claim a free one-year membership using the code TICKETNEWS

The reason I am concerned about this is that tickets for the 2017 “Country Megaticket” (which is a ticket that includes 6 individual concerts on 6 different dates) was offered for its first presale at Ticketmaster.com on Tuesday January 24th at 10am. The “Gold” level ticket ($800) for Jones Beach Theater for this event was stated on the Ticketmaster.com website to specifically include “(Sections A-H & Center Stadium 1)”.

But during the first presale at 10 am (I was on line at the exact time tickets went on sale) (Sections A, E & F & all of Center Stadium 1) were not available for sale (except for 2 strangely symmetrical tickets in the same spot in the back of section E & F). So the “good seats”, the ones that were specifically mentioned as being available if you buy the “gold” level ticket, were not available. (I believe tickets from orchestra sections B&C were also not available.)

On the second presale day Wednesday January 25th at 10 am (the time tickets went on sale for the second presale) Sections A, B, C, E & F & all of Center Stadium 1 were grayed out on the map & not available for sale.

Thinking that all the seats may not have been released for the presale I went on line again on Friday January 27th when tickets went on sale to the general public but the same situation occurred again, and Sections A, B, C, E & F & all of Stadium 1 were grayed out on the map & not available for sale. So again the “good seats”, the ones that were specifically mentioned as being available if you buy the “gold” level ticket package offered on ticketmaster.com, were not available for sale in whole sections.

However tickets for each of the individual shows in the bundle, which were not yet purchasable anywhere for the individual concerts since it was only being sold as a bundle, were for sale already on the resale market through jonesbeach.com at high marked up prices for each of the individual shows. So the “good seats” in those sections (A, B, C, E & F Stadium 1) that I did not see available for the presale & general public sale I first saw available on the secondary market at high proces on Jonesbeach.com.

It is highly unlikely that entire sections would show no availability at all since the usual trend is at least one seat here and there appears to be available in each section, especially since I looked from the start of each presale all the way to the general public sale. It seems suspicious to me that all of these sections (Sections A, B, C, E & F & all of Center Stadium 1) were completely grayed out from the start of the sale (both at the presale & general public sale). I wondered at first if the megaticket maybe did not include center seats in those sections but it is SPECIFICALLY stated on ticketmaster.com website that the “Gold” package includes sections A through H & Center stadium 1 for this theater.

Please investigate to determine whether the Jones Beach Theater is internally scalping tickets without making them available to the general public.

I contacted ticketmaster.com about this several times but was told they only have the seat availability given to them from the Jones Beach Theater. I contacted the Jones Beach Theater about this twice via email but they did not respond to my emails.

Thank you”

Gametime ad touting concert tickets for 60% off prices at competing websites