Ticketmaster is one of the largest ticket distribution companies in the world. They sell tickets for concerts, sporting events, and other live entertainment. When you buy tickets on Ticketmaster, they have policies in place that prevent the transferring or reselling of those tickets in many cases. This often surprises and frustrates customers who purchase tickets as gifts or need to change their plans and can no longer attend an event.
Ticketmaster’s Terms and Conditions
The main reason you cannot accept transferred tickets on Ticketmaster is that it violates their Terms and Conditions that you agree to when purchasing tickets. Section 3 of Ticketmaster’s Purchase Policy states:
“Tickets obtained from unauthorized sources may be lost, stolen or counterfeit, and if so are void. Ticketmaster reserves the right to revoke any tickets purchased from unauthorized sources from your Ticketmaster account without notice or compensation.”
So if someone tries to transfer or resell you a Ticketmaster ticket outside of their official ticket exchange, it violates the policy and could lead to the ticket being canceled without refund. This is because Ticketmaster wants all ticket sales to go through their platform so they earn revenue from the fees.
Avoiding Scalpers and Fraud
Another big reason for the non-transferrable policy is that Ticketmaster wants to cut down on scalping and fraud. Scalpers buy up lots of tickets using bots and then resell them for unfairly inflated prices. Ticketmaster does not want to facilitate these secondary sales. They also want to avoid people buying fake or stolen tickets from unauthorized sources.
By only allowing ticket transfers through their Ticket Exchange resale platform, Ticketmaster can exert more control over pricing and ensure the tickets are legitimate. This prevents fans from getting ripped off or scammed by scalpers reselling outside the system.
Artist and Venue Requests
In some cases, artists or venues will actually put restrictions on Ticketmaster prohibiting transfers. Big artists and promoters want to make sure tickets get into the hands of real fans rather than scalpers trying to make a profit. By adding the no transfer policy, they can better control who ends up at their events. Venues will also sometimes prohibit transfers if they do not allow for resales under state ticketing laws.
Verification of Ticket Purchaser
Ticketmaster also wants to verify the identity of everyone purchasing tickets for security and accountability purposes. When tickets are transferred or resold multiple times, they lose visibility into who ultimately attends the event. This is especially important for high-profile or high-risk events where they need to monitor things closely for safety reasons.
By only allowing the original ticket purchaser to use the tickets, they can better track attendance and maintain records of who bought tickets from the beginning.
Integration with Entry Systems
Most major venues now use mobile tickets integrated with digital scanners for entry. This means Ticketmaster tickets have unique barcodes tied specifically to the original purchaser’s account. If the ticket is transferred, the new holder’s identity won’t match up when their ticket is scanned, preventing entry. The advanced technology being used for ticketing these days requires tickets to stay in the hands of the original buyer in order to work properly.
Promoting Their Own Resale Platform
While Ticketmaster does not allow free transfers, they do enable resales through their own TicketExchange platform. Sellers can relist tickets for resale at market value prices. Ticketmaster adds fees on these resale transactions. So it benefits them commercially to prohibit external transfers and require all resales go through their own systems.
TicketExchange also ensures tickets being resold are legitimate and provides buyer protections related to invalid or fraudulent tickets. So they position it as a safer option than unauthorized transfers where there is higher risk.
When Can Tickets Be Transferred on Ticketmaster?
There are some exceptions where Ticketmaster tickets can be transferred or resold to a new buyer:
- The event organizer enables free ticket transfers – This is rare but some allow it if transferring to friends/family.
- The tickets are resold using Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange platform – There are fees for the seller here.
- The tickets are donated to charity via Ticketmaster’s Charity Listings – Fees are waived.
So those are the only approved methods for transferring Ticketmaster owned tickets. Any free external transfers risk the tickets being revoked with no refund.
Policies for Season Tickets and Packages
For season tickets and multi-event ticket packages, there are often different policies in place. Season tickets for sports teams generally allow for transfers and reselling, but may have limitations in place, for example:
- Resells can only be done through the team’s authorized platform.
- Games against high-demand opponents may not be eligible for transfer.
- The season ticket holder must list the transferee’s name for entry.
This allows teams to still maintain some control and get the necessary information on who is attending games. Package deals like festivals, concert series or theater seasons also tend to have more flexible transfer options but may require notifying the issuer of updates.
Ways Ticket Transfers Can Be Facilitated
If Ticketmaster wanted to enable free ticket transfers while still addressing their concerns, there are some options they could consider including:
- Limiting transfers to 1 or 2 times so tickets are not endlessly changing hands.
- Requiring both parties to formally approve the transfer through Ticketmaster.
- Charging a small transfer fee to cover costs (waived for charity transfers).
- Only allowing transfers between Ticketmaster users with verified accounts.
Enabling controlled transfers through their platform would allow them to still track ticket ownership while offering customers more flexibility. It could provide a nice middle ground approach.
Tips for Transferring Non-Transferrable Tickets
While strictly prohibited for most events, some fans still attempt to transfer or sell non-transferrable tickets bought on Ticketmaster. Here are some tips on how this is done:
- Use PDF ticket transfers rather than Ticketmaster’s official transfer – Though riskier.
- Meet to exchange tickets in person rather than digitally transferring.
- Change the ticket holder name to match the new attendee.
- Buy insurance or guarantees from the reseller in case tickets are invalid.
While these approaches may work in some cases, there are no guarantees. Tickets could still be revoked at any time if Ticketmaster identifies unauthorized transfers. Buyers also open themselves up to potential fraud without assurances tickets will work.
Common Questions About Transferring Tickets
Can I sell my Ticketmaster tickets?
You can only resell your Ticketmaster tickets on their TicketExchange platform, not on external resale sites. Exceptions may exist for season tickets or package deals.
What if I can’t attend an event I bought tickets for?
If you can no longer attend, your options are to resell through TicketExchange, give tickets to friends/family authorized on your account, or eat the cost. You cannot freely transfer tickets to someone else in most cases.
What happens if tickets are transferred against policy?
If Ticketmaster detects an unauthorized ticket transfer, they can revoke the tickets without notice or compensation. The tickets could also be voided at entry to the event if the names don’t match.
Can I change the name on my Ticketmaster tickets?
No, you cannot directly change the ticket holder name on Ticketmaster tickets. The tickets are non-transferrable and can only be used by the original purchaser in most cases.
Is Ticketmaster the only ticket seller with non-transferrable tickets?
No, other major ticketing platforms like AXS and SeatGeek also have non-transferrable ticket policies. It has become an industry standard practice to restrict transfers for the reasons discussed.
Ticketmaster’s non-transferrable ticket policy is frustrating to consumers but in place for a number of reasons. It helps them avoid scalpers, maintain visibility into ticket buyers, and integrate with ticket scanning technologies. There are some limited cases where transfers are allowed, such as via TicketExchange or for season ticket packages, but free external transfers are prohibited in their terms and conditions.
While some buyers attempt to sell or transfer tickets against policy, this comes with risks of revocation or rejection at the event entrance. In most cases, your options are to resell through approved channels or eat the cost of unusable tickets. This controversy has led some to avoid Ticketmaster altogether. But given their dominance in ticket sales, most consumers must accept their restrictive transfer policies when buying tickets.