DETROIT – Ticket-selling giant Ticketmaster is being accused of cutting secret deals with scalpers who often cheat customers.
A hidden camera investigation exposed a serious problem that has the Better Business Bureau issuing a warning to concertgoers in Metro Detroit.
Ticketmaster is one of the companies many people turn to when they need tickets for big events at Little Caesars Arena, Ford Field and Comerica Park. But sometimes people look at other websites or deal with scalpers, who get tickets for events that appear to be sold out.
The Better Business Bureau has a new warning for everyone looking online for tickets.
"A lot of what happens when they're scammed online is that they think they've gone to a reputable ticket broker, but when they actually go to the website, it's actually fake," said Laura Blankenship, of the BBB.
Video from inside a meeting among the world's biggest ticket scalpers in Vegas shows Ticketmaster allegedly recruited scalpers to resell a large number of tickets. According to a report, Ticketmaster is getting a cut of the deal.
"They become pretty good partners for me," a man in the video says. "Doing half a million, or whatever in total sales."
Ticketmaster is accused of using software called Trade Desk, which lets resellers buy tickets from Ticketmaster and post them to other sites. A hidden camera investigation revealed how it works.
"I want to know the straight good on whether Ticketmaster is going to be policing us using our multiple accounts," the man with the hidden camera said.
"No," the man responds. "I have a gentleman who's got over 200 Ticketmaster.com accounts."
When the tickets are resold, it's often for a profit, which means customers end up paying more, and unfortunately, some of the tickets also get into the hands of scammers looking to rip people off.
Before buying tickets, customers should check out the Verified Ticket Service website.
"They can go to VerifiedTicketService.com and see the list of the verified ticket brokers and see what ticket brokers are trusted," Blankenship said. "That's probably going to be their safest bet."