Durham, N.C. — When you pay big money for tickets to a big show, you don't expect problems. But that's what some fans are finding when they order tickets online.
Roy Tempke of Cary ordered two tickets to see Wicked at the Durham Performing Arts Center. They were a Mother's Day gift for his wife. "I think I'm like any guy," said Tempke. "I waited `til the last minute."
Like many of us, he quickly went online, Googled DPAC and placed his order. He paid $260 including fees.
But when the tickets arrived, he realized something was off. They looked like tickets you print at home.
"And we thought that was strange, and again even my wife commented at that point, `oh, are these real?' And I thought well, yeah, sure they are. I ordered them from the DPAC, of course they're real. I mean we paid enough for them. I hope they are," said Tempke.
Turns out, his quick Internet search landed him on a ticket reseller's website. Tempke ordered through DPAC.org instead of the venue's actual website DPACNC.com.
Peter Wallace is in charge of ticketing for the DPAC. "This isn't just a Durham Performing Arts Center problem. It happens at every venue, for every concert," said Wallace.
"Often times they are charging much higher than face value on the ticket and adding exorbitant service charges," he added.
When 5 On Your Side talked with Tempke, the site he'd ordered from was already gone. That was no surprise to Wallace. "Then they'll put it back up and then they'll take it down so that it's constantly changing," said Wallace.
The night of the show, the Tempkes arrived wondering whether their tickets were real, and whether they'd even get in. Someone else's name had clearly been whited-out on the tickets. "When they check you in we thought `well, that would be the moment of truth," said Tempke. "The lady checked us in and said, 'Have a great show' and we both kinda breathed a sigh of relief."
The Tempkes were relieved the tickets were legitimate, but annoyed that they cost $84 more than they would have had he bought them directly through the DPAC. "It's not fair. It's not right. It's deceptive. It's a deceptive practice," said Tempke.
The DPAC's Peter Wallace says there have been cases where tickets were not legitimate and customers had to purchase new tickets to get in. Under North Carolina's scalping law, venues can prohibit the reselling of tickets on resale sites.
The takeaway: Make sure you know where you're ordering from, and check different websites to compare prices and fees.