‘It’s really terrible:’ Mom, daughter learn concert tickets they bought were no good

BROWN DEER -- A big night out hit a sour note when a mom and daughter from Brown Deer were told their concert tickets were no good. They have been struggling to get a refund ever since. Meanwhile, the seller of those tickets is not facing any consequences.

Straight No Chaser

On Dec. 1, 2018, the harmonies of the all-male A capella group Straight No Chaser filled the Riverside Theater.  Lisa Zimmer wanted to be there.

"They're just amazing," Zimmer said.

Zimmer and her daughter are big fans. She said while comparing ticket prices on several websites in September, they accidentally bought two tickets from SecureBoxOffice.com.

Lisa Zimmer

"We only wanted to spend like $40, $50 for the tickets and our total came to like $400 and something," Zimmer said.

$437.58 for two tickets with a face value of $49.50 each. They were unable to reverse the purchase -- so they brought their tickets to the show.

"The lady immediately scanned them and said, 'Nope, you can't get in.' And I'm like, 'What do you mean?'" Zimmer said.

It turns out, the tickets were no good.

"I think it's really terrible that this can happen," Zimmer said.

Sara Peronto

"We see it happen quite often cause there are a ton of third-party sites out there that are selling fraudulent tickets," said Sara Peronto of the Pabst Theater Group.

Peronto said the only tickets they can guarantee are the ones bought directly from their box office or through PabstTheater.org.

"We can't honor any tickets that are fake. We can't refund anything from our box office that is a fake purchase," Peronto said.

Riverside Theater

But the theater group tries to never turn anyone away.

"We definitely understand the customer's frustration and we do everything we can to try and accommodate them," Peronto said.

In Zimmer's case, she and her daughter had sensed a problem with the tickets. So they also bought from TicketMaster two cheaper, backup seats. The Riverside moved them up to the front of the theater.

"Front row on the corner -- which was unbelievable. It was amazing," Zimmer said.

Since the show, Zimmer has made many calls to Secure Box Office and Discover -- asking for a refund for the invalid tickets. The box office manager even provided a letter confirming she was "not permitted entry." The manager even added, "I have seen this particular buyer's name appear with several other victim's of ticket scalping." Yet by February, no refund.

Riverside Theater

"The total frustration of having to call all these people and getting bounced around and being told, 'Oh, there's nothing we can do,'" Zimmer said.

So Contact 6 stepped in. When Jenna Sachs reached Secure Box Office, she was told the ticket reseller "guarantees that ordered tickets will be valid for entry, and Ms. Zimmer's tickets were."

But a lawyer representing the company then said despite a "no-refund policy unless the event is canceled," Secure Box office has "agreed to reversal of the charges as a courtesy."

 

"That would be excellent, that would be awesome, that would make me so happy," Zimmer said.

Zimmer and her daughter are still waiting for that refund. Discover has been processing the payment for two weeks.

Zimmer's experience is striking a chord with Straight No Chaser, which told Contact 6 in a statement:

"We had to hear reports of our fans being taken advantage of by third-party ticketing sites. We appreciate the work of FOX6 in helping Lisa get her refund and hope to see her at a future show."

Straight No Chaser

"I believe they signed 'em," Zimmer said.

Another show seems likely for Zimmer.

"We left in tears, we were on cloud nine," Zimmer said.

Contact 6 does not know why Zimmer's tickets did not work -- whether they had been altered or reissued or had an unreadable bar code. But we do know the seller violated the terms and conditions of the Pabst Theater Group by reselling them above face value.

You may wonder if Secure Box Office is taking any action against the seller of the tickets. The answer is no. A lawyer for Secure Box Office said it is not clear why the tickets could not be scanned. As for violating the Pabst's rules, Contact 6 was told the ticket resale marketplace is not owned by any one venue and the website discloses its prices may be above face value.

That is why it is a good idea to buy tickets directly from a venue when you can or from a trusted vendor -- and to use a credit card because you are more likely to get your money back.

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