Ticketmaster Gets Overly Excited About Inauguration, Starts Selling Tickets Prematurely

The e-mail sent by Ticketmaster and the Inauguration Committee.

The e-mail sent by Ticketmaster and the Inauguration Committee.

Last night, D.C.-area Consumerist reader Jim was feeling down about his Redskins’ playoff loss. But then he checked his e-mail and saw a note from Ticketmaster that brightened up his gloomy Sunday. He could now buy tickets, a fully day early, to the Jan. 21 inaugural festivities for President Obama’s swearing-in.

But soon after trying to reserve his tickets, Jim found it was all just a cruel tease.

That e-mail, which included a link, account number and password, and which urged the recipient to order their tickets “as soon as possible,” was apparently not supposed to be sent out when it did. According to a follow-up e-mail sent by Ticketmaster and the Presidential Inauguration Committee, the error was simply a test of their e-mail system that went horribly wrong.

Jim and other Consumerist readers who tried to buy the tickets last night, but judging from the “our bad” e-mail below, at least some people were able to get tickets — though the “Ticketmaster will be in touch” line seems to imply that these tickets might be voided.

The folks at Buzzfeed have a pretty good round-up of less-than-please responses to the goof.

Here is the e-mail sent out about the error:

During testing of our email system tonight, you may have inadvertently received an invitation to purchase tickets for 2013 Inauguration events, including the Inaugural Ball or the Inaugural Parade.

Public tickets to these events were originally scheduled to go on sale tomorrow morning – you received the email tonight in error, and Ticketmaster takes responsibility for this mistake.

However, a significant number of public tickets were purchased this evening, despite the early email. Ticketmaster will be in touch with any additional information.

All public tickets are first-come, first-served, including those sold tonight. There is no guarantee that you will be able to purchase a ticket at any time.

Thank you for your understanding.

Ticketmaster