Consumer Reports: How to avoid ticket price gouging

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Sick of trying to buy concert tickets that sell out only to be available at astronomical prices? Consumer Reports has the why and what to do about it. (WPVI)

Getting affordable tickets to the hottest shows or sporting events can seem impossible. Not only are tickets expensive, many events sell out quickly.

This is a huge frustration for music and sports fans. So Consumer Reports explains why this is a problem and has some useful tips on how to get good seats at a decent price.

Shari DiPaola bought a ticket online to see her favorite band for hundreds of dollars. Then she realized she over paid.

"I saw that the cost was in the 50 something dollars. I was mortified. I was so angry," she said.

Software called bots allows brokers to scoop up tickets at lightning speed and resell them online at a huge mark up.

So how do you avoid getting gouged?

"One thing you can do is go through the official ticket seller like Ticketmaster, and create an account. That way, you won't have to log on and enter payment details during which time a bot can go in and grab your seats," said Tod Marks from Consumer Reports.

Take advantage of pre-sales through sites like TicketCrusader.com and PreSalePasswordInfo.com and look out for credit card promotions which offer card holders first dibs and discounts.

"We also found if you visit the resale sites closer to the event itself, ticket prices can plummet. So patience really does pay off," said Marks.

Consumer Reports tracked prices for a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game through sites like ScoreBig, FanxChange and SeatGeek and found more than a $50 dollar difference compared to the box office price. On the day of the event, for a similar ticket the price went down almost $80 dollars to about $23 dollars.

And forget going to a concert in a group. Buying fewer tickets ups your chances for success.

As for Shari, she learned from her high priced mistake and plans to change how she'll buy tickets from now on.

"I felt foolish absolutely ridiculous for spending that much money, I'm not going to do it again," she said.

The effort to crackdown on the use of bots has already begun. The House of Representatives just passed a bill that would make it illegal for people to use them and make it illegal to sell bot software or tickets knowingly bought through bots. The bill is now pending in the Senate.

For more information on ticket price gouging, visit ConsumerReports.org.
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