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What to know before you try to buy concert tickets

| Sunday, April 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Have you found it almost impossible to get tickets to in-demand live events? You're not alone. Here are a some tips to help find the best ticket deals:

Get in on the pre-sale action:Ticket pre-sales and holdbacks can amount to up to 90 percent of the total tickets, leaving only 10 percent available to the general public, according to Fan Freedom. Holdbacks occur when artists, management, venues and ticketing companies presell or reserve tickets to fan club members, VIPs, premium credit card holders and personal acquaintances. For a recent Justin Bieber concert in Nashville, only 1,001 out of 14,000 seats were available during the public sale, says a spokesperson for Fan Freedom. The upshot? Join the fan clubs of your favorite artists. Look for alerts from your credit-card company regarding pre-sales. Get on the mailing lists of venues that host big events. Sign up with Ticketmaster and LiveNation to gain access to Web or app based pre-sales.

Go solo: You have a good chance of getting a good seat during a public sale if you're only looking for one seat.

Pay attention to URLs: When buying tickets directly from a venue, check the website's URL to ensure you don't get duped by an imposter.

Use reliable sellers:Brokers like and have tickets at prices higher than face value, but not as high as you may pay for leftovers from the public sale or ridiculously priced VIP packages. Fan Freedom suggests checking company ratings with the Better Business Bureau and verifying ticket brokers are members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

Check your ticket vendor's guarantee policy:According to Fan Freedom, secondary ticket sellers like Stub Hub, TicketsNow, Ace Tickets and All-Shows guarantee every ticket sold on their sites and will replace them or provide refunds to consumers if they receive the wrong tickets, their tickets are invalid or an event is canceled. This may not be the case for all online ticket sellers.

Rate your deal:To determine if you're getting a good deal, check online ticket aggregators like, which offers Deal Score, a proprietary system that analyzes and rates available tickets for sale online to show you which ones offer the most value for the money. It also provides a link directly to Ticketmaster's official box office so you can check there for available tickets instead of using a secondary seller.

Buy with a credit card:Regardless of where you buy tickets, be sure to use a credit card so you can dispute any unfair or unauthorized charges.

Read the fine print:Some artists and venues sell restricted paperless tickets, requiring the buyer to show up at the venue and present the purchasing credit card and photo ID. With these tickets, the buyer does not receive a physical ticket and cannot easily transfer these tickets. Some venues also may limit the number of tickets you can buy. If you are able to buy tickets on behalf of friends, make sure you know the maximum number of tickets allotted or your order may be canceled without notice.

Know the fees: There are buyer fees, shipping fees and fees that don't seem to be for any reason other than charging a fee. Pay attention to your subtotal, says Fan Freedom, as it can change throughout the ticket buying process.

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