Concert sold out? Why many tickets are gone before the public can buy them

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ST. LOUIS – If you search for tickets for the big Rolling Stones or Janet Jackson concerts coming to St. Louis, you may think most have already been sold even though tickets have yet to go on sale to the public.

The Rolling Stones are coming to St. Louis in June. Presale for tickets is Wednesday. At this point, not a single seat has been sold to the public. Still, ticket resale websites like SeatGeek, Vivid Seats, or StubHub, are already offering the best seats in the house.

Fox 2 searched for tickets on the three trusted resale sites and found all three are offering to sell you thousands of tickets. It turns out, they are selling tickets to concerts they currently may not have.

Ticketmaster is actually handling the initial public ticket sale. A spokesman confirms Rolling Stones tickets have not been sold yet. Ticketmaster’s site has warnings about “speculation ticketing” – the practice of selling tickets for shows that have not yet gone on sale. Ticketmaster calls it “fraud.”

Attorneys general in Missouri and Illinois say selling so-called “spec tickets” is legal. Still, they warn people against buying them. Keep in mind, those resale sites may be selling you seats a certain zone or section and not guaranteeing you an actual seat number.

Rolling Stones fans in St. Louis agreed with Ticketmaster that the practice smacks of fraud, especially when the ticket presale hasn’t happened yet, either.

“I don’t think it’s fair to people who really want to get tickets to go to the show. It doesn’t seem like the right thing to do,” said fan Suzanne Alberter.

“It almost sounds like it’s fraud,” said Debby Dent, who’s seen the Stones twice. “They’re selling something they don’t have that they’re hoping to give to you later. You’re buying something that isn’t even there yet.”

According to a StubHub spokesperson, sellers do already possess the tickets, saying in part: “Speculative selling is forbidden in the StubHub user agreement. It is widely known that many people receive tickets before the pre- and on-sale. Sellers are required to ensure validity and ability to fulfill any tickets they list or they’re held responsible, per our seller policy.”

Still, there’s been no public sale for the Rolling Stones in St. Louis yet and a spokesperson for the event says the StubHub claim is just not possible.

A spokesperson for VividSeats claims it is the only site that points out its sellers may not actually have the tickets prior to the public sale, saying in part: “Vivid Seats offers the most transparent and secure ticket marketplace in the United States … We believe we have set the gold standard for how to offer tickets on an early, pre-order basis because of our transparent disclosures and refund protection…”

Presale for Rolling Stones Fan Club and American Express members is Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.

Tickets go on sale to the public Friday morning at 10 a.m.

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