Scalpers Use ADA Loophole To Snatch Up, Resell Tickets Meant For Disabled

At some sporting and concert venues, seating spaces reserved for people with disabilities can sometimes be prime spots. So it’s sadly not surprising that unscrupulous scalpers are taking advantage of a loophole in the Americans with Disabilities Act that makes it legal for them to buy up blocks of these seats and then resell them to people without disabilities.

The ADA allows anyone who buys a seat in a handicapped-accessible row to also purchase up to three spots in that row for their friends, regardless of whether they are disabled or not.

And if the disabled buyer chooses to resell their ticket, they are not required to sell the ticket to another disabled person.

Thus, scalpers go in and buy up four tickets at a time from the venues under the idea that at least one ticketholder is disabled. Then they flip those seats to the highest bidder.

CBS Denver talked to one area man who uses a wheelchair. He had tried to buy tickets to see The String Cheese Incident at Red Rocks only to find the wheelchair-accessible seats had quickly sold out.

A look at StubHub found those $60 seats suddenly going for up to $253 each. The reason? The wheelchair-accessible seats at Red Rocks are in the front row, while the tickets for the show are general admission, thus making them a premium for people who wanted up-front access without the hassle of elbowing through the crowd.

“They’re not breaking the law, but there’s a moral question there of how they’re taking advantage of people with disabilities,” said someone from Ticketmaster, thus marking the first — and likely last — time we ever agreed with Ticketmaster.