BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts state law is pretty clear. It says you can’t re-sell a ticket for more than two dollars over face value.
The exception is for licensed ticket brokers. They can essentially charge whatever people are willing to pay, chalking up the difference between their price and face value to “service charges.”
Legally, those charges can include postage, long-distance phone calls, shipping and handling — anything that counts as the brokers’ overhead.
But we wondered, what about the middle man, those people who sell their tickets to the brokers (for a profit) in the first place?
We watched plenty of people do just that, or at least try to, Tuesday morning and afternoon. After waiting hours and hours in line outside the Garden to buy Stanley Cup playoff tickets, some ticket-holders simply crossed Causeway Street, tickets in hand, and tried to sell them to ticket brokers.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.
The would-be sellers weren’t too willing to talk to a reporter about the plan, but the co-owner of Empire Tickets explained how it works.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens talked with a dealer about counterfeit tickets
“Everyone’s trying to make a couple bucks off it,” said Tim Carvahlo. “But it does get crazy.”
Carvahlo expects to buy and sell a couple of hundred Stanley Cup tickets. That’s nothing, he said, compared to some of the bigger outfits that share his block. Four ticket brokers sit right across from the Garden, and Carvahlo says it’s normal for ticket holders to “just go door to door and [sell to] whoever gives them the best deal.”
When asked what he would pay a person for a ticket to Game 3 with a $325 face value, he guessed around $400. He was not sure how much he, in turn, would be able to charge for that same ticket. However, he did acknowledge that in-demand tickets (imagine a Game 6 at the Garden with the Bruins up in the series 3-2) could easily go for $6,000 or $7,000.
The State’s Department of Public Safety has a “Special Licensing Section” that handles just such matters. DPS spokesman Terrel Harris told WBZ-TV that individual sellers can sell tickets to a licensed broker for more than face value by claiming the same exemption that the brokers themselves do. A person holding a $325 Bruins ticket, for example, might demand $425 from a broker, citing his own “service charges” that could include gas, tolls, long-distance calls, shipping and handling, and the value of their time spent waiting in line.
The broker, in turn, passes those price increases along to their buyers.