Ticketmaster: Two Tickets Per Household Literally Means Two Tickets Bought From Within Your House

Consumerist reader Laura recently went online to buy two pairs of concert tickets, one for herself and a second pair in a different section for her boss and his wife. But when she went to go print out these tickets last week, she found that the second pair had been cancelled several weeks earlier without telling her.

On its website, Ticketmaster writes:

Please adhere to published ticket limits. Persons who exceed the ticket limit may have any or all of their orders and tickets cancelled without notice by Ticketmaster in its discretion. This includes orders associated with the same name, email address, billing address, credit card number or other information.

The limit on these particular tickets was “two per household,” but Laura says she had used different credit cards with different names and different billing address for the two pairs.

Writes Laura:

I had two different people tell me on the phone that they have “people” check all the details for purchases (credit card information, billing addresses, names, account names, and IP addresses) and that it was my fault it was from the same IP address, despite that the rule was only two tickets per HOUSEHOLD. It was clearly two different people and two different billing addresses, but Ticketmaster refused to admit wrong and/or make it right by arranging seats with the venue for my friends.

Laura then brought her gripe to Twitter, which managed to get a little attention from Ticketmaster — a company that seems to have a permanent seat in the Worst Company In America Final Four.

She says she was contacted by one TM employee who said they would see if they could do anything about finding seats for the concert. That was on Saturday, and with the clock ticking until the show and no further word from the Master, Laura bit the bullet and bought two more tickets on Stub Hub.

“At the very least, Ticketmaster should reverse their policy that they do not alert customers when they have canceled their tickets post-purchase,” writes Laura. “As far as I was concerned, once the tickets were bought, we entered into an agreement. I should be notified if that agreement is nullified.”

While we understand why Ticketmaster would want to prevent scalpers from simply sitting at home and using several credit cards to snap up tickets for the purpose of resale, we do think that limiting purchases to two tickets per IP address can’t be the right way to go about it. And yes, there is no reason for them to not notify customers when their order has been cancelled.

Thank god we have other options for buying concert tickets — oh, wait.


Edit Your Comment

  1. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. That said, not informing people their tickets have been cancelled is absurd.

  2. Cat says:

    Same IP address does not equal the same household.

    I understand they want to prevent scalping. Yet, somehow scalpers wind up with huge blocks of tickets to sell at even more outrageous prices than even TicketBastard charges.

    • Darrone says:

      Because getting a dozen Ip addresses is pretty fricken easy. you know, proxies and all

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        Or just power cycle your modem. But what concerns me is that at many companies every work computer has the same public IP. I guess the next time I tell co-workers about a concert or other event, I’d better make sure to order my tickets first.

        • maxamus2 says:

          Why are you ordering tickets from work? Shouldn’t you be doing work stuff from work?

          • Thews says:

            I think it has been shown that taking small break from work tends to improve or hold constant productivity (ie increases it enough to make up for the break) while improving overall employee happiness.

          • drjayphd says:

            You posted at 3:16 PM Eastern time. Why are you doing non-work stuff (presumably) at work?

            (takes preemptive OH SNAP victory lap)

          • Solkanar512 says:

            I work for a company that wouldn’t mind this in the slightest. Quit being so damn nosy and uptight.

        • phsiii says:

          Maybe they log MAC addresses and look at those…
          …but seriously:
          “Hey! I just got two great tix to the concert!”
          “Great! Move over, I want to take my girlfriend too…”

          • AustinTXProgrammer says:

            They shouldn’t be able to get your MAC address. On the other hand they probably use cookies and can identify tickets from the same browser unless you take extra precautions.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Don’t even need proxies, just change ports on a wireless router(sometimes) or cable directly into the modem.

        • lee says:

          that’s stupid for the more informed (Hint that would not change the WAN IP ,most likely would of not changed the IP anway as windows prefers to keep the same IP as its faster at desktop load to use last IP then use the DHCP if it says no)

        • Shadowman615 says:

          Oh, man that is incorrect on so many levels.

      • kcvaliant says:

        Really?? From my understanding TM sells directly to the third party sellers..

  3. Greg Ohio says:

    IP address? I work in an office with 1000 other people and we all have the same external IP address.

    • StarfishDiva says:

      Who the hell *isn’t* Natting…. what about hotels? They only want to buy one publically facing IP address, and a lot of apartments’ complimentary wireless may reflect a single public static…. that’s ridiculous.

    • who? says:

      Exactly. I would guess a *lot* of people order tickets from work. My entire 1000 person office shares a single IP as well.

    • maxamus2 says:

      So why don’t you order from HOME then?

  4. GMFish says:

    What concert is this? What if your entire family wanted to go? “Sorry, you can’t go. Only your brother can go.”

    • axolotl says:

      Ticketmaster’s solution: buy the tickets for the rest of your family off a scalper!

      • Tyanna says:

        Or go to a friend’s place, provided they aren’t going to the concert too.

        Or maybe you should just drive around time and look for open wi-fi and hope for the best?

  5. Darrone says:

    Failure to notify the customer is really dumb.

    I do understand that TM is in a constant battle against re-sellers (one they can never really win), but when you start pissing off customers in a misguided attempt to protect customers, you need to re-align your priorities.

    • Derigiberble says:

      Ticketmaster could beat the reseller problem (at least at big events) by tying the tickets to the name on the purchasing credit card or ID. Show up, swipe card, get tickets, enter show. Just integrate the kiosk into a turnstile to let people into the venue so there is no chance of getting the tickets and then scalping them. It works for the airlines and Fandango.

      • rooben says:

        Then Ticketmaster would ruin the sales of Tickets Now, their reseller arm. While saying they are fighting scalping, they offer the exact same service themselves.

        • Derigiberble says:

          Oh yeah, that’s why they would never do it. I love that they say that tickets are non-transferable and then also run a company which only exists to transfer tickets between people.

      • Martha Gail says:

        But what if you buy the concert tickets as a gift? Or at the last minute, you can’t go so you give them to someone else?

        • Derigiberble says:

          You could have a separate ID box for gifts, only to be filled out at the time of purchase. Similar to how you have to enter passenger ID information for each person when you book airline tickets or how you can send a gift to another address with Amazon.

          I’d say for those who can’t make it you should maintain a waitlist, and as long as people are on the waitlist allow people who have tickets but cannot go to return their tickets for a refund and have the tickets go to the next person on the waitlist.

      • Darrone says:

        You create more problems then you solve. That means if you are buying more than 1 ticket, you must all enter as a group. You cannot sell tickets to people without ID. You cannot give tickets, you cannot re-sell tickets at all (even face), unless you go through ticketmaster and pay a resell fee. It would be a nightmare.

  6. DariusC says:

    If they cancel the ticket, they must refund the purchase. That money was allocated for the explicit purpose of procurement of those tickets. By failing to provide the tickets, they agreed that the money was not accepted for the tickets and the tickets will not be rendered. Charging for the tickets without intent to furnish them to the customer is fraud. Chargeback, small claims, whatever it takes to recoup those funds from that unscrupulous organization. *Twizzles Moustache*

  7. ThinkingBrian says:

    That’s terrible. I understand what they are trying to do with the limits, but some of there policies need to be changed.

    1. Ticketmaster has to start informing customers that they are cancelling their orders.

    2. You can’t track by IP address. Why? Well easy, my cable company doesn’t assign an IP address to each customer, they give out random IP Addresses when you sign on. I could have one IP address in the morning, then sign off for a little while and then sign on in the afternoon and I woudl have a different IP address. There are only some parts that are the same. I can’t even disregard my IP address on my stats for my blog because of this.

    I feel bad for the customer, but one idea in the future would be to buy the tickets for your boss at work and your tickets at home. Keep work at work and home at home. Its sad that Ticketmasters mistake now costs either her or her boss a loto f money considering stub hub is more expensive. Good luck.

    • KatieNeptune says:

      That’s your “Blame the OP”? Buy your tickets at home and your boss’ tickets at work? Maybe she works from home. Maybe tickets went on sale at a certain time and she needed to buy them quickly at once before they sold out. Who cares that she’s buying tickets for her boss – what if she was buying it for her best friend and her husband? Or her parents?

      • who? says:

        Or maybe the boss bought his own tickets, but because of the way the network was set up, they shared an IP address (this is more common than not).

        There is *no reason* that OP should need to know arcane rules about network infrastructure and IP assignment in order to buy tickets to a concert. None.

    • ThinkingBrian says:

      I wasn’t blaming the OP here, instead I was simply making a suggestion on how to get around the lame policy. The OP did nothing wrong here period, this is all on Ticketmaster. Nobody should be blaming the OP here.

    • Alan_Schezar says:

      The problem with that strategy, buying one set at work and one at home, is that tickets can sell out if you wait until you get home, and/or have worse seating options available for purchase. Often tickets will sell out within 30 minutes.

      • ThinkingBrian says:

        Unfortunately you don’t have many options when it comes to Ticketmaster with them putting in the IP address issue. So guess what, you have to do something in order to buy your tickets. Of course the point here is to show Ticketmaster how terrible their policy is on tracking IP Addresses this way. Again you have to find a way to deal with their rules, so there you go.

        Keep in mind, this is a suggestion on how to deal with their rules…not a good option is it???

  8. FreeMarketFan says:

    Was it in the terms of service?

    If so, then I guess that’s the end of it.

  9. dush says:

    If only people would stop buying through TM.
    If a show was empty because no one was willing to use TM I think they’d get the message.

    • psm321 says:

      And also, it wasn’t in the ToS, which the OP specifically took care to quote to preempt that sort of dumb comment

  10. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    This seems puzzling. What about all the college kids who are surely sharing IP addresses not only with themselves and their roommates, but with everyone else in their dorm or campus wifi / campus internet?

    • maxamus2 says:

      Boo freaking hoo for them?????

      And those college students that are spending $100 on tickets that they just “gotta have”, I’m assuming they are paying for their college up front and not with loans?

      • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

        I don’t know where that came from. But you appear to be mad. Quite mad, indeed.

      • Kate says:

        Um who do you think goes to concerts?

        You really need to get a new hobby little man.

        • drjayphd says:

          Hey, if maxamus gets his jollies from shoving a corn cob up his asshole and posting on Consumerist, that’s his business, not ours. He just can’t be surprised when people call him out on it.

          And fer chrissakes, take it out every once in a while. It can’t be comfortable.

  11. ianmac47 says:

    Oh who cares what Ticketmaster’s policy is for the number of tickets per household. It sounds like the real mistake Ticketmaster is making is not simply selling every ticket in an auction style event to maximize profits. The only way of squeezing scalpers out of existence is by better controlling the market place.

  12. Megalomania says:

    It’s extremely unlikely that Ticketmaster is actually filtering by IP on this, and much more likely that they’re just using browser cookies.

  13. homehome says:

    Um, she didn’t follow policy and her tickets got canceled, I don’t see the problem.

  14. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Cancelling the tickets was not necessary wrong in the case, given the need to avoid scalpers. But not informing her in any way that the transaction would be cancelled… that makes it TM’s fault.

    • wrbwrx says:

      Yet scalpers seem to keep finding ways to buy tickets. And scalpers appear to be embraced by Baseball at a minimum. Have you seen ads for stubhub on MLB websites? i have.

      Something is wrong with the definition scalping.

  15. wrbwrx says:

    Last May my company gave me a $100 livenation voucher. Yay I thought, I wont have to pay out of pocket to get to a few concerts.

    Present day, I learn that the coupon was a one-time use and since i only spent $30, they get to keep the remaining $70.

    Pure Evil.

    • Kate says:

      I would think your company would like to know that their 100 dollar voucher was mostly appropriated by the vendor.

  16. Gregory says:

    “This includes orders associated with the same name, email address, billing address, credit card number or other information.”

    “If I have the same name as someone else? No way that could ever happen, oh wait.

  17. thomwithanh says:

    When the Red Sox still sold single game tickets directly, I believe the rule was eight tickets per household per season.

  18. TrustAvidity says:

    Yet another reason VPNs for the win. A change of IP at the click of a button.

  19. kella says:

    As at least one person has noted, with NAT entire companies, colleges, schools and even ISPs can have a single external IP address. Limiting purchases per IP isn’t a very good concept. Then again, I never purchase from Ticketmaster, even if it means I can’t go to an event.

    I’m sure they have enough legalese around those tickets that you can follow every ‘rule’ and have the ticket physically in hand and they can stil refuse you entry, or demand additional payment, or whatever else they want. Their ‘product’ is essentially valueless.

  20. A.Mercer says:

    I ordered some tickets from Ticketmaster recently. I wanted to spend a bit of money and get some really good seats. However, Ticketmaster had some sneaky shennagins. The tickets went on sale like January 3rd but if you paid for a membership in Live Nation (for $300) you could get them on January 2nd. I did not want to pay an additional $300 on top of the ticket price. So I waited until the 3rd and there was nothing worthwhile left. I can go on Ebay now and see the tickets selling for hundreds apiece.

    That Live Nation purchase would have been good for a year but I do not plan on buying many tickets from Ticketmaster so this would have been a waste to me. It seems this Live Nation thing just works in favor of the people who are scalping. Spend $300 and you get a year of early access. Grab the best seats you can and then sell for profit. Do it for a couple of concerts and other events that that $300 is more than paid back. By setting up something like this, it seems that Ticketmaster actually encourages scalping.

    Kind of odd they have other policies like the one in this article that are supposed to be against scalpers.

  21. PortlandBeavers says:

    An IP isn’t a person, so this is guaranteed to screw some people. There are workarounds available, and scalpers are going to figure them out once the word is out that Ticketmaster is doing this. You can’t block a determined individual from an Internet-based service. The architecture of the Internet is way too open for such a thing. All you do is upset the less-savvy, who are more likely to be real fans who just need a few extra tickets.

    The worst thing is that they aren’t real big on telling people what they are doing. In spite of that, scalpers figure it all out and work around. In fact, you can argue that the more hurdles they put in front of the purchaser, the greater the scalper advantage, because the scalper has more motivation to learn how to get over the hurdles.

  22. MrGutts says:

    Funny she went to StubHub for tickets.

    StubHub is “supposed” one of the biggest organization of Tickets brokers in the country, which they are in bed with TM people to get the best tickets.

  23. schernoff says:

    It’s not just Ticketmaster with the silly limits. I tried to buy baseball tickets a few years ago – try taking a family of 5 to Yankee Stadium. Sorry – we won’t sell you more than 4 tickets. Oh yeah, you can get someone else with a different address and a different credit card to buy some, but we can’t guarantee they’ll be in the same section.

  24. axiomatic says:

    Ticketmaster doesn’t understand how networks work?!?!?! I’m shocked!