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RI Attorney General warns consumers of 'speculative' ticket scams

It's Consumer Protection Week and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha is warning Rhode Islanders to be careful of potential ticket resale scams that are becoming increasingly common.

The unlawful conduct at issue is the sale of undisclosed "speculative tickets," which are offers to sell tickets that the ticket seller does not have, has not purchased, and does not have a contractual right to obtain. It is only after a consumer places a ticket order that the seller attempts to purchase actual tickets, at a lower price and from a different source, to provide to the buyer.

Speculative tickets are associated with excessive price mark-ups and consumers ending up with different seats than those they believed they purchased or, worse yet, not obtaining a ticket to the show or event at all. In addition, the practice of listing an undisclosed speculative ticket may be a violation of Rhode Island's Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Various Rhode Island venues and event organizers, including Newport Jazz Fest, Newport Folk Fest, the Providence Performing Arts Center, the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin' Donuts Center, have reported exorbitant ticket resale price mark-ups and speculative ticket listings on ticket resale websites.

"Unsuspecting patrons and fans should not be taken advantage of by companies that break the rules or engage in deception or fraud," said Attorney General Neronha. "I am urging Rhode Islanders to use caution and be on the lookout for red flags when it comes to purchasing tickets."

Before purchasing a ticket online, check with the venue to see if tickets are on sale for the event. Tickets may be available at a much lower price directly from the venue, or the venue may have its own verified resale platform.

If a ticket resale website or ticket broker is selling a ticket that a venue has not yet listed for sale, the ticket may be an undisclosed speculative ticket.

Before purchasing a ticket, make sure that the ticket offer includes seating details. Check with the venue to be sure the seats exist at the venue.

Be wary of misleading ticket advertisements. When you search for online tickets, advertisements for cheap tickets will often appear. Don't let an advertisement pressure you into making a poor financial decision; shop around for good deals.

Use common sense and do your research. If something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, please call our Consumer Protection Unit at (401) 274-4400 or e-mail consumers@riag.ri.gov.

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