Steer clear of StubHub!
Jun 22, 2006 (Updated Jun 22, 2006)
I've always been leery of buying tickets outside of direct avenues like Ticketmaster -- even though such institutions systematically fleece you, they at least provide a fairly predictable service with plenty of recourses if something were to go wrong. But when I wanted to attend a near sold-out ballgame and my schedule didn't firm up until four days out, there was little choice for decent seats other than to hit an online scalping venue -- I chose StubHub based on the few reviews I found and the fact that they had a reputable-looking website and advertisements.
This was a gigantic mistake. I cannot discourage business with StubHub strongly enough.
The pair of tickets I ordered were $36 each for decent mid-section field-level seats, which struck me as impressive. Moving through the checkout process, I saw that I was required to provide my credit card prior to being informed the fees -- red flag #1.
I called customer service -- who, to their credit, answered promptly -- and was told that my total would come to $94 -- $22 in fees, but I decided beggars couldn't be choosers. The rep also mentioned that the seller would have to confirm these tickets before I would be charged. I idly asked what recourse I would have if the seller failed to do so, and he indicated that StubHub would try to find replacements but provided no guarantee -- but "that doesn't usually happen."
I should've pulled out right then.
From there, dealing with StubHub became a cyclical hell that I wouldn't wish on anyone this side of Ann Coulter. First, I waited two days (remember, this started four days before the game) without the seller confirming. Then the real fun began.
Two days before my event, this was the sequence of phone calls:
8:15 AM: I get a call informing me that the tickets I ordered were not available, but they could offer me replacement seats several sections closer at the same price. I was promised a call back within the hour, as soon as they confirmed with this new seller.
10:15 AM: I called StubHub and indicated that my callback was an hour overdue. I am assured that the rep I spoke with that morning will call me "right back."
11:30 AM: I get another call that the good replacement seats were not available, but that they could offer me seats 20 rows back from my original order at the same price. I refuse to accept downgraded seats without a discount, and StubHub promises to keep looking.
3:00 PM: StubHub calls me and indicates that they can move me one section closer to home plate, but again many rows further from the field, for only $87 per ticket -- well over DOUBLE my original purchase price. I'm too shocked by the audacity of this "offer" to be upset at the time, and ask that my order be cancelled.
Here are the pros of using StubHub:
- They have responsive customer service reps, who always answer the phone promptly, and seem to be intelligent and honestly want to help you navigate their twisted system.
Here are the major cons (in both senses of the word) that I can see:
- They have absolutely no provision that requires sellers to actually possess the tickets they list.
- Buyers may be made to wait 48 hours to find out whether the tickets they ordered are actually available.
- When the sellers flake out, negotiations become time-intensive to the buyer who naively thought they could buy a product by picking it and paying for it.
- They will try to sell you a roughly equivalent product at more than DOUBLE your original price just to get you out of their hellish web.
Basically, I am left with no tickets to an event I planned my Friday around, and no alternative but to rely on a physical scalper if I want to attend, since StubHub killed my window of opportunity with false hope. But at least if I use a real-life scalper, I can see that he has a pair of tickets in his hand, and actually BUY IT.
I cannot state strongly enough what a lousy setup StubHub is. Their fees are egregious to begin with, which is to be expected, but even at such prices they can't actually furbish a guaranteed product. Steer clear of this outfit if you want to get to your event.
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