Buying tickets for concerts, sports events, or theater shows on Craigslist can be a great way to score deals or find tickets for sold-out events. However, the process comes with its unique set of challenges and risks.
This post-COVID comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps of how to buy tickets on Craigslist safely, ensuring you get legitimate tickets at a fair price.
Benefits of Buying Tickets on Craigslist
Access to Sold-Out Events: Sellers often list tickets for popular events that are no longer available through official channels.
Potential for Bargains: You can find tickets at or below face value, especially as the event date approaches
Direct Transactions: Buying directly from another individual can be quicker and more straightforward than dealing with ticketing platforms and fees
The Basics of Buying Tickets on Craigslist
How to Search for Tickets
Start by navigating to the Craigslist site for your city or the nearest large city. Use the search function to find listings for the specific event you’re interested in. Be sure to check both the “for sale” and “tickets” categories.
Look for listings with clear, detailed information about the tickets, including the event date, seat location, and price. Be cautious of vague listings or those that seem too good to be true.
Contacting the Seller & Communicating Effectively
When you find a promising listing, reach out to the seller via the provided contact method. Be clear about your interest in the tickets and ask any important questions you might have.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
Be wary of sellers who are evasive about details, refuse to provide verification, or insist on immediate payment without proper assurance of ticket authenticity.
Negotiating the Price
Tips for Negotiation
Be polite and reasonable in your offer.
Use the information about ticket availability and pricing trends as leverage.
Be ready to walk away if the deal doesn't feel right.
Verifying Ticket Authenticity
How to Spot Fake Tickets
Look for inconsistencies or errors in the ticket details.
Ask for proof of purchase or a receipt if available.
Use verification services when possible, especially for high-value tickets.
Meeting the Seller
Safe Meeting Locations
Choose a public, well-lit place to meet the seller. Some police stations offer safe zones for Craigslist transactions.
Best Practices for In-Person Transactions
Bring a friend for added safety.
Inspect the tickets carefully before making payment.
Use secure payment methods that offer some form of protection or recourse.
Payment Methods and Precautions
Recommended Payment Options
Cash is often preferred for Craigslist transactions, but for higher-value tickets, consider using payment methods that provide documentation and dispute resolution, like PayPal.
Avoiding Common Scams
Never wire money or use gift cards for payment.
Be cautious of sellers who are out of town or who refuse to meet in person.
Digital Tickets vs. Physical Tickets
Special Considerations for Each Type
For digital tickets, verify they can be legitimately transferred through the event's ticketing platform.
For physical tickets, check for signs of tampering or duplication.
Steps to Take After Purchase
If possible, register the ticket under your name or verify its validity with the venue or event organizer.
Craigslist Alternatives for Buying Tickets
Pros and Cons of Other Platforms
Explore other ticket-selling platforms like StubHub, Ticketmaster Resale, or local Facebook groups for buying tickets, noting the differences in fees, buyer protection, and selection.
Do not ever send money through Paypal in exchange for tickets. Do not send money through Western Union (ever). If you are going to buy tickets from someone through Craigslist, make sure you speak to the person on the phone and make sure you meet them in person for the exchange.
Do not agree to send money to someone on Craigslist if they say they will ship the tickets to you. It is very easy to make up tracking numbers and blame it on the delivery service (UPS, FedEx, USPS). Cash in person is the best way to go.
Keep these simple steps in mind:
- 1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- 2. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t go along with it.
If everyone (including ticket brokers) in your area is asking $150/ea. for a ticket to a popular event and you see an ad asking only $80/ea. for the same seats, be very cautious. It is probably a scam!
Also, be sure to check out my How to Sell on Craigslist guide.
Other Helpful Resources
More Info About Buying Tickets After Covid: STILL USE COMMON SENSE
Craigslist is a popular online platform that allows individuals to post classified ads for various items, including event tickets. However, buying tickets on Craigslist can be risky as there is no guarantee that the tickets are legitimate or that the seller is trustworthy.
To minimize the risks associated with buying tickets on Craigslist, the website offers several tips. Here are some of the main points:
- Do Your Research: Before buying tickets on Craigslist, do some research on the event and the tickets. Check the official website for the event to see what the ticket prices are and what the ticketing policies are. This will help you identify any red flags in the Craigslist listing.
- Meet in Person: Always meet the seller in person to purchase the tickets. This allows you to inspect the tickets and verify that they are legitimate. It also helps you to gauge the seller’s credibility and trustworthiness.
- Inspect the Tickets: When you meet the seller, inspect the tickets carefully. Look for any signs of tampering, such as altered barcodes or incorrect seating information. If the tickets look suspicious, do not buy them.
- Pay with Cash If Possible: Always pay with cash when buying tickets on Craigslist. Do not use wire transfers, cashier’s checks, or other payment methods that cannot be easily traced or reversed.
- Use Caution with E-Tickets: Be especially cautious when buying e-tickets on Craigslist. These are tickets that are sent electronically, and there is no physical ticket to inspect. Make sure the seller sends the e-tickets through a reputable ticketing platform, and confirm that the tickets are valid before paying.
Overall, buying tickets on Craigslist can be a risky proposition, but with some caution and due diligence, you can minimize the risks and enjoy a safe and successful transaction.