Consumer Alert: Ticket Sales

Many consumers enjoy the convenience of buying sporting event, concert and other live event tickets online. Promoters of these events often offer tickets on their websites or through their ticket brokers' sites.

When tickets to popular events are hard to get, you may be tempted to buy tickets from a scalper. A scalper is someone other than the promoter or broker who buys several tickets (often large blocks of tickets), and resells them (often at a much higher price). Even someone selling personal tickets he or she can't use may be considered a scalper. Buying tickets from a scalper may seem convenient but it carries risks.

Did you know?

  • Ontario law prohibits the sale of tickets at a price higher than that at which they were first issued.
  • It is illegal to purchase tickets with the intention of reselling them at a profit. 
  • Ontario law also prohibits buying tickets for more than the advertised price.  Ticket sales are also governed by the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.

Getting your money back from a scalper may be difficult, even if the tickets:

  • are not as advertised – wrong seats, or wrong event
  • are forged or copied
  • are stolen from someone else and have been cancelled by the promoter
  • are delivered too late for the event.

Even if the tickets are genuine and otherwise valid, some event promoters may deny you admission, or deny you a refund for a cancelled event, if they discover that you have purchased your tickets from an unauthorized agent or scalper.

Legitimate event promoters are easy to find and have some obligation to resolve problems associated with their tickets.

Protect Yourself:

  • Observe online safe shopping tips
  • Buy directly from the event promoter, an established ticket agency or a reputable website.
  • You may also want to check:
    • Does the seller or the website give contact information in Ontario, like a street address or a phone number? Remember, this information is critical if you have to take the matter to an Ontario court.
    • What is the seller's refund or exchange policy? Are refunds guaranteed if the event is cancelled or postponed?
    • Will service fees be refunded if the event is cancelled?

Learn More