Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityTheater owner frustrated with third-party ticket sellers inflating prices | KUTV
Close Alert

Theater owner frustrated with third-party ticket sellers inflating prices

Theater owner frustrated with third-party ticket sellers inflating prices (Photo: KUTV)
Theater owner frustrated with third-party ticket sellers inflating prices (Photo: KUTV)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

Third-party ticket sellers are causing major problems for venue owners. Tickets being sold online are popping up with price tags as much as four times face value.

At the Hale Center Theatre, the most expensive ticket is $52, “so anyone can really come and just have a great time,” said Sally Dietlein, who co-founded the theater 35 years ago.

She keeps prices reasonable for a reason.

“If we don’t keep them there, families can’t come — why should arts ever be elitist?”

But recently Suzanne Severe, one of Hale’s box office reps, says customers have come in with purchased tickets from third-party sellers.

Severe recalled one recent customer who paid twice the maximum face value for tickets to a show — more than $200.

She’s seen other incidents where third-party sellers sold tickets that were never reserved through Hale’s system, so when the customer arrived, there were no available seats, Severe said. The theater accommodated those customers as best it could, but “it’s frustrating because we wish that we could solve the problem for them. Unfortunately, we can’t solve the fact that they’ve lost money.”

2News found an ad on Groupon showing a third-party broker selling tickets for a performance at Hale Center Theatre for $207 apiece — four times face value. The ad stated the seller wouldn't have the tickets in hand, and would deliver that ticket or one comparable only after the order was confirmed.

Selling this way is legal in Utah, even without those disclosures.

”They’re getting $300 a ticket — that’s a good day at the office — and that really should be illegal," Dietlein said. "There’s got to be something we can do."

Groupon sent a statement to 2News on Wednesday saying, “The offers for this venue did not meet their pricing standards and have been removed.”

An industry executive tells 2News:

"Ticket resale marketplaces provide fans with safe options for when they shop around for tickets, where they purchase with the peace of mind of guaranteed tickets and refund protection. These marketplaces do not set prices, as this is a decision for the ticketholder/seller to make, and prices on marketplaces usually reflect supply and demand. Consumers should buy tickets from marketplaces and ticket sellers that provide protections such as a guarantee, and make all terms transparent.

If a ticket sales site does NOT offer these protections and transparency, keep shopping around."

A bill is being filed this legislative session to make it illegal for a third-party seller to send a ticket for a different seat or section than what was agreed on.

Comment bubble

Experts say to look to buy from the the venue website first. But, if purchasing through a third party, check to see if they offer refunds. You can also check the Salt Lake County Arts & Culture website and Now Playing Utah.

Loading ...