Tickets for the biggest concerts and sporting events usually sell out quickly.

  • If you are still determined to attend, you will need to find another source, such as dedicated ticket resale websites or direct fan-to-fan transactions

  • If you bought tickets you can no longer use, it makes sense to try and get your money back

Here is how to navigate the agents, touts and resale routes whether you are buying or selling.

Is it legal to resell tickets?

The resale of football tickets is illegal under anti-hooliganism laws unless they are sold through the club's authorised service. This service is often provide through a partner like viagogo or StubHub.

There are currently no laws governing the re-sale of tickets for other sports, concerts and the theatre.

The Government has refused to amend the law on reselling tickets but has stated it may introduce legislation for the resale of tickets to "events of national importance".

However, the terms and conditions of some events now explicitly state that tickets cannot be resold. Organisers are able to cancel any tickets that they find being sold on by touts.

Can you trust official ticket websites?

Your best bet to get tickets at face value will be through an official outlet rather than an unofficial seller.

Official ticket agencies such as Seetickets.com, Ticketmaster, 365Tickets and Ticketline.co.uk are authorised by the venue or the act to sell tickets to events direct to consumers, so you can be confident the tickets are genuine.

If you book while there are still direct tickets available, you are likely to pay the same price as you would if you bought direct from the venues. Booking and postage fees are likely to be added so you will need to compare the added costs to get the best deal.

What about ticket resale websites?

Are resale sites worth a go?

You may be able to get a ticket through unofficial resale sites if you cannot find one elsewhere.

However they will often be far more expensive and risky.

Ticket resale sites such as viagogo, Seatwave and others provide a marketplace for fans to buy and sell concert tickets.

Tickets bought from the industry's bigger names are likely to be genuine, and some offer consumer protection and guaranteed sales. However, you are also likely to pay a hefty premium.

Tickets are regularly sold at a marked-up price, especially if the event is sold out, and you will also be hit with costly booking fees. This means you will need to decide how much you are willing to pay in total before you start searching.

Ticket resale sites such as Scarlet Mist offer a face-value ticket exchange, so they are worth looking at, although you have even fewer reassurances about the legitimacy of tickets.

What support do these companies offer?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ordered 4 of the largest ticket selling platforms in the UK to offer a more transparent ticket selection process.

StubHub, viagogo, Seatwave and GET ME IN! will now provide the following information:

  1. Any restriction on the view or entry at your chosen event

  2. If multiple seats bought are all sat together or separated

  3. If there are any additional costs associated with buying your chosen ticket

  4. How much the price differs compared to the original face value

  5. Contact details for consumers should something go wrong with the purchase

The CMA are continuing to approach all other major ticket re-sale companies in order for them to fulfil their obligations under consumer law in the UK.

Should you ever buy direct from another fan?

Peer to peer ticket sales are potentially tricky ground, with no guarantees of the authenticity of the ticket or the seller.

Prices can also skyrocket, with sales typically advertised informally via internet forums and sites like eBay.

Arranging to collect tickets in person can also be risky because it usually involves taking cash with you to meet someone you do not know.

How can you protect your ticket purchase?

Unofficial ticket agencies have in the past sold tickets that do not even exist, and there will be few guarantees that tickets you do receive are genuine unless you can confirm the serial number.

If you are unsure whether an online ticket seller is trustworthy, you can always check if they are registered with the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (although not all official outlets are). If in doubt, ask the venue where you can buy genuine tickets.

Protection schemes

If you use a credit card for tickets priced over 100, you will get Section 75 protection

If you use a debit card, you may be protected by the Chargeback Scheme instead.

If you are buying tickets directly via eBay or in person, online payments may be eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection, if the seller can be tracked down. However, this will not apply if you pay by another method like bank transfer or cash.

Selling tickets you do not need

Official agencies and re-sale websites will often offer to buy back your unwanted tickets, meaning you can claw back at least some of your money if you cannot attend.

Venues want to fill seats, so they often partner with an official agency to let fans recycle unwanted tickets. Check the venue's website to see if they advertise an official resale route or call the venue direct for advice.

Some football clubs have resale agreements with viagogo, StubHub and other auction sites to allow fans to sell their tickets to the club's existing members. Visit your club's website to see if they have an agreement or their own scheme in place.

However, selling tickets on the roadside is actually illegal unless you have a street vendor's license. In some cases it is possible for civil proceedings to be brought against you if reselling breaks your ticket's terms and conditions.