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Florence Civic Center warns about ticket scams

Video by WBTW News 13 - CBS / Media General w/ Wendi Redman Story below reported by: John D Russell Sept. 1, 2011 / Media General Source: "Civic center battles ticket fraud while drawing bigger acts" FLORENCE, SC -- It can be exciting when your favorite music artist comes to town, especially if you get a great seat for the show. What's disheartening is buying the ticket to the show and not realizing it's a fake until getting to the door. It happens more often than people might think and it's a problem that has been a thorn in the side of venues around the country, including Florence Civic Center. While Florence Civic Center General Manager Kendall Wall said that "it is a very good sign," that more national acts are coming to Florence, he also wants people beware of ticket scams. Back in the not-so-distant past, the image of the ticket scalper, or secondary broker, standing on the corner outside a stadium with a fistful of tickets was a common sight. Now the image is virtually gone, but the customer base has grown by leaps and bounds with the use of the Internet. Not all sites selling tickets are illegitimate, but there are some important things to consider when buying tickets for that next show you've been waiting to see. "It's something we're very concerned about," Tina Dean, Florence Civic Center director of sales and marketing, said. "We're just trying to get the concert-goer to be aware. We can't tell you where to buy. We're just saying you need to be careful." Just recently, the civic center announced country music artist Lady Antebellum will be coming in November but tickets aren't on sale yet. If you do an Internet search for tickets to the concert, however, there are tickets available to buy. For the Lady Antebellum concert at the civic center, there are three different seating charts from three different brokers selling tickets and none of them are accurate. "What happens is, the secondary ticket brokers look on our website and use a generic seating chart and start selling tickets. The problem is, we haven't even started selling tickets yet because we are finalizing the seating charts as we work with the production company and artist," Wall said. "If somebody buys a ticket in one of these sections it's not a valid ticket because it doesn't exist." "Not only are the seating charts wrong, but the ticket prices are wrong, too," Dean said. At the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, general manager Roger Newton said the same problem is something he has to deal with all the time. "The more shows and the bigger the name of the artists, the more problems you're going to have because the scalpers are all about supply and demand," Newton said. "They're very sneaky." Recently, Newton said, a woman paid $4,500 for a pair of tickets, showed up at the concert and was denied entry because the tickets, which she had purchased online from a scalper, were fake. "There's nothing we can do besides sell them another ticket. These are professional scalpers. They know how to game the system. At the end of the day, we just want to protect the average Joe," Newton said. To protect yourself, Wall and Dean said, go to the website of the venue hosting the show. The venue website will list the official ticket provider and then you can buy tickets through them. The official ticket provider for the civic center is Ticketmaster. When the time comes, after seats have been finalized, the venue will notify the public as to when the tickets will go on sale. "Typically we will notify people through our email club, on our Facebook page, through radio or the newspaper about a week before the tickets go on sale," Wall said. Tickets for the Lady Antebellum, Josh Kelley and Edens Edge concert, scheduled for Nov. 26 at the civic center, will go on sale in the next few weeks.
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