RBTL warns theatergoers about secondary ticket websites

Posted at: 02/13/2013 4:58 PM
Updated at: 02/13/2013 5:59 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

A warning from the Rochester Broadway Theatre League about some websites that could be charging you too much.

Because of the sellout of popular shows like “The Book of Morman”, the RBTL wants to tell you about some secondary ticketing websites that they are worried about. In some cases, these websites could be charging you hundreds of dollars more than you could be paying at the theater box office or Ticketmaster.

News10NBC went in depth to find out how you can make sure you're paying a fair price.

It's important to note that the websites we are going to point out are not necessarily doing anything illegal. However, anyone who's been to a show here in Rochester knows that $500, for instance, is just way too much to pay for a typical ticket. But in some cases, that's what these websites are charging.

It's theater season in Rochester. And whether it's the “Addams Family” or the “Book of Morman”, tickets are going fast.

Linda Glosser, RBTL Executive VP, said, “We tell people over and over again, come to rbtl.org and we'll help you find the right site, which happens to be Ticketmaster and that's our exclusive ticketing agent.”

But say you decide to Google Rochester theater tickets in search of the best deal. You'll find sites like rochesterboxoffice.com or rochestertheater.org. Are those sites legit?

Glosser said, “It's a little difficult for us and certainly for the consumer to tell which is which. It is legal in New York State, at this time, to sell tickets. So secondary ticketing sites that are licensed are doing it legally.”

When we did our research we found, if you're not using a site sanctioned by RBTL, you're likely going to pay a lot more.

News10NBC's Christine VanTimmeren said, “But this is legal in a lot of ways?”

Glosser said, “It is legal in a lot of ways but the question is whether it becomes ethical when somebody is paying 10 times the ticket price.”

So say you want to come to this Friday’s showing of Soul Jam. You want row AA and you want seat 101. It will cost you $50 if you come to the Auditorium Box Office. If you go to rochesterboxoffice.com,  it will run you $239.

Glosser said, “In their case, I think it's exorbitant.”

Exorbitant., but again, not necessarily illegal. So what's the Rochester Broadway Theater League doing about?

Glosser said, “All you can do is start with things that seem questionable, In this case, this particular site, we will be checking that out aggressively.”

Rochesterboxoffice.com is powered by localticket.com. News10NBC did try to reach out to them and haven't heard anything back.

It's also important to note even if you find a decently priced ticket on this website, you will have to pay a service fee and a delivery fee. The service fee for that $239 dollar ticket for soul jam will run you $50.

The RBTL says it's a problem for thousands of venues and has been for years. They say the biggest problem is that there is no law in place that prevents tickets from being sold at these high prices online if the seller is licensed. There's also no way for RBTL officials to know when people from these internet sites are buying their tickets.

For tickets, go to http://www.rbtl.org/tickets.aspx