Action Line Consumer Alert: Buying tickets from third-party vendors

The sold out Bruno Mars concerts in Hawaii can be a golden opportunity for thieves.

“There are unscrupulous folks in the community and also internationally that look for opportunities like this where consumers have a great degree of interest and are willing to take some amount of risk in securing tickets,” said Gregory Dunn, president of the Hawaii Better Business Bureau.

Consumer advocates say if you’re searching for tickets on websites other than Ticketmaster, you need to know who you’re dealing with. They say buy them from a reputable seller by researching their history.

When it’s time to pay…

“Definitely a red flag is if someone sends you to a website or sends you an email that says go to PayPal or some other payment transaction portal. But instead of that, we want you to send us either a wire transfer from Western Union or a green dot money card,” Dunn said.

That’s because once you finish the transaction, the money is essentially gone.

“Consumers really should use a credit card because your credit company will more than likely protect that transaction or if you use a reputable third-party payment system like PayPal. They’ll in most cases guarantee the transaction so if you don’t receive real tickets, you can at least get your money back,” Dunn said.

If you make that face-to-face transaction…

“You know what the tickets look like because you don’t want to show up and give someone the money and have them hand you photocopied tickets,” Dunn said.

“You have to be very careful in looking at those offers that don’t even, that occur even before the tickets legally go on sale and they weren’t aware of any ticket brokers that were allowed to make those pre-sale offers,” said Bruce Kim, executive director of the Office of Consumer Protection.

If you feel you’ve been victimized, call Honolulu police. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau or the state’s Office of Consumer Protection to file a complaint.

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