Still looking for tickets to this weekend’s sold-out Jacky Cheung concerts in Kuala Lumpur? If you happen to chance upon tickets online and think you’re in luck… you’d better hold your horses. Yes, while it appears that you can still get tickets on several open-market websites such as StubHub.my – albeit at an exorbitant price – buyers beware! You will not only get cheated off your money, but chances are you may be denied entry to the concerts as well.
“If the tickets are proven to be transacted via scalpers or unauthorised channels, they will be voided and the buyer would be refused admission,” says Star Planet chief operating officer Carmen Liew. “The terms and conditions are stated on the ticket, official website and confirmation email to purchasers.”
This is not just the standing rule for Cheung’s concerts, but any event organised by Star Planet.
It is also a rule enforced by PR Worldwide who organised the recent Ed Sheeran concert in Kuala Lumpur and were forced to turn away people at the door for producing tickets purchased from unofficial sites.
“We state on our website and on the back of our tickets that a ticket bearer will be refused entry and the ticket will be cancelled without compensation if the ticket is purchased from an unauthorised ticket seller or ticket scalper,” says PR Worldwide operations manager Kavita Baskaran.
Websites such as Viagogo and StubHub are not authorised ticket sellers for these shows. Instead, they are “fan-to-fan marketplaces” where unscrupulous scalpers often go to take advantage of actual fans looking to attend a concert, festival or sporting event.
Here, buyers have to fork out more cash for the tickets than their actual worth.
Tickets to Cheung’s three concerts in Putra Indoor Stadium – Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur on Jan 26, 27 and 28 are sold out on the official website – yet at press time remained on sale at these sites.
Originally priced between RM261 to RM991 on Star Planet’s website and its authorised ticket seller MyTicket Asia outlets nationwide, the tickets fetched up to RM3,585 a piece on viagogo.com and over RM11,400 on Stubhub.my.
Tickets to Bruno Mars’ May 9 concert in Kuala Lumpur which were originally priced at RM398, RM598 and RM888, and marked as sold out on PR Worldwide’s official website, are being resold between RM800 to RM6,720 each on StubHub.my.
In one report, the eBay-owned StubHub claimed that it is not a seller but an open marketplace that protects buyers and sellers, ensuring that everything is authentic. A chat with StubHub.my’s customer service representative reveals that the Malaysian chapter of the website has been around for seven years. The rep wasn’t forthcoming with other information pertaining to the website.
Viagogo, on its website, states that it does not set ticket prices, and that sellers set their own prices, which may be above or below the original face value. “Where demand is high and the tickets are limited, prices increase,” it states.
Liew said that such websites are not granted permission to sell the tickets to Cheung’s, or any other shows organised by the company.
“It is indeed a challenging phenomenon faced by global promoters and what makes it harder to curb is that there is no formal policy in place yet to address this secondary market based on a concept of ‘willing seller-willing buyer’,” said Liew on scalpers, and the websites that allow these transactions to happen.
Event organisers and ticket sellers are being more stringent with their sales terms. Bulk buying of tickets is prohibited.
“We don’t want the scalpers to swoop in and buy all the tickets. Depending on the show, the number of ticket purchases are limited to four, six or 10 per transaction,” explains Kavita.
Only a booking confirmation is sent to the buyer after a successful transaction, and no ticket will be delivered or issued until seven days prior to the concert or event date. An original ticket is one that is printed on high quality paper, with a working barcode and a UV link (like the ones on the RM100 notes), says Kavita.
“Some buyers have unknowingly showed up at the concert venue with just a booking confirmation which they bought for a large sum from a scalper. It won’t be considered a genuine ticket and they will be denied entry without reimbursement,” Kavita adds.
If a buyer is suspected as a scalper, he or she would be asked to collect the tickets at the venue on the day of the event. They need to show proof that they are purchasing them for family or friends.
“We understand that this is a hassle – for the fans and ourselves, but it is the only way to ensure that the real fans will get a chance to attend the event or concert,” says Kavita.
Liew advises fans to look at the terms and details on the official websites to avoid untoward incidents.
“We urge them to purchase tickets only from the organiser or authorised ticketing company and refrain from making any monetary transfer to unknown persons. If they have any doubts, we ask them to contact us for verification,” says Liew. “We do advise victims to make a police report so that necessary investigations can be carried out. It can help others to be more cautious not to fall prey to similar scams.”