VIP Tickets Canada Ticket Buyer's Safety Guide IconA Safety Guide To Buying Event Tickets

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At VIP Tickets Canada, we know that getting tricked into buying fake event tickets really hurts. You lose your money, miss the show you really wanted to go to, and lose trust in the online marketplace. Many people have personally been taken advantage of when buying event tickets, or know someone that has. Many are therefore sceptical of buying resale tickets, or are unsure of ways to do so that are safe. After hearing stories in the news and from customers about experiences with ticket scams, we felt that it would be helpful to write an article on safe buying practices to adhere to when purchasing resale tickets.


The secondary ticket marketplace (resale) can be a daunting one if you don’t know how it works or what to look for. This article is intended to demystify the ticket resale market and help buyers make safer ticket purchasing decisions. Buying tickets doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you know what to check for and what to avoid.

Here is a list of important things to look for when purchasing tickets to help ensure that your purchase will be secure and your tickets legitimate:

Things to Look For to Ensure Safety and Legitimate Purchases:

  • Company guarantee
  • Credit card protection
  • Legitimate, registered, licenced, and trackable business
  • Sales, return, and privacy policies
  • Address or phone number from established sources

Things to Avoid (Can Indicate a Scam):

  • Paying with cash, wire, money order, or E-Transfer
  • Buying from an individual rather than a legitimate company (see above tips)
  • A lack of buyer protection; Company guarantees and acceptance of credit cards are good examples of buyer protection, as they help ensure a refund if you do not receive your tickets. A vendor’s word is not protection!

Ticket Exchange, Ticket Broker, or Ticket Scalper? (And What's The Difference Anyway?)

Overall, there are three categories of sources that you can buy resale tickets from, and each vary in their level of safety and security:

Ticket Exchange (Safest)

  • A ticket exchange is a registered company that is licensed and compares all available tickets for an event. A ticket exchange will guarantee that your entire order is authentic and valid for the event. Multiple third-party licensed ticket brokers are screened for security by the ticket exchange and fulfill customer orders after tickets are purchased. Ticket exchanges usually offer tickets in two forms: e-tickets (sent to you via email) and hard tickets (paper tickets, usually delivered via Fedex or a similar courier). VIP Tickets Canada is an example of a legitimate and reputable ticket exchange. Other well-known ticket exchanges include StubHub and Vivid Seats.

  • Purchases from ticket exchanges are done via credit card to ensure buyer and seller protection. Tickets on these sites are considered to be at market value for an event (Note: this refers to the value at which tickets are being sold on the secondary market according to the ticket demand and availability; this will not necessarily match the price printed on the tickets themselves). Market value can be above or below face value (the amount printed on the ticket). If an event is not sold out and it is close to the event date, ticket exchanges such as VIP Tickets Canada will often have tickets for sale at a discounted rate that is below face value.

  • Ticket exchanges typically have a service fee that is added on to the ticket price at checkout. All ticket exchanges show tickets in real time and have a valid operating website that should be in proper english and have clickable links. Websites for valid ticket exchanges are screened and must hold valid PCI and SSL certificates to ensure your credit card information and other personal details are safe.


Ticket Broker (Safe)

  • A ticket broker is a licensed company that purchases select tickets for an event specifically for resale purposed. They also often hold season tickets for sporting events or have contracts with venues for certain event seating. It is safe to buy tickets from a ticket broker that is licensed and reviewed. Check their reviews and buyer guarantee before purchase to ensure that you are covered. Valid ticket brokers will have a website on which their tickets are for sale, as well as often listing their tickets for sale on ticket exchanges such as VIP Tickets Canada.
  • Ticket brokers typically have a service fee that is added on to the ticket price at checkout. Websites for valid ticket brokers are screened and must hold valid PCI and SSL certificates to ensure your personal information is safe.
  • Note!! A ticket scalper is not a ticket broker! A ticket broker will have a valid business license and any other regional or national licenses required to operate as a registered company.

Ticket Scalper (Not Safe)

  • The large majority of ticket scams fall into this category. Ticket scalpers are not licensed and are typically individuals rather than reputable companies. Do not buy e-tickets from scalpers as these can be printed out on standard paper and resold many times (it is however safe to buy e-tickets from licensed and reputable ticket exchanges or brokers).
  • Typically, ticket scalpers will ask for cash, E-Transfer, money order or wire as the method of payment. NONE of these methods allow for buyer protection, and if the ticket is fake you will have no way of getting a refund. Scalpers will not have a proper website with live tickets for sale.
  • Note: Scammers often put pressure on people so to rush them into making poor decisions. Chances are that if they can’t take the time to make you feel comfortable, they shouldn’t be trusted. Unless you know the seller personally, you should always buy resale tickets through a ticket exchange or ticket broker.

Some Final Advice on Purchasing Resale Tickets:

  • Always buy tickets with a credit card via a ticket marketplace (exchange or broker).
  • Make sure you are buying from a legitimate business, especially when buying tickets off of Craigslist, Backpage or Kijiji (see the Do’s and Don’t’s Safety Checklist above).
  • Never buy tickets with cash, money order, e-transfer or a wire. Only a credit card will give you protection in the event of a fraudulent ticket.
  • Should your ticket not be valid, get a copy of the scan report from the ticket scanner. If the ticket was bought from a legitimate ticket exchange or broker, it was likely just a mistake in their system and you should be able to get a refund. If the ticket was bought from a scalper, DO NOT try and confront them personally, but rather contact the local authorities.
  • And finally: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information about personal safety online, check out these online resources:

  • (Canada-specific)



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