Is StubHub Legit and Is It Safe to Buy Tickets From?
Anyone who purchases event tickets, sports tickets, or concert tickets has probably heard of online ticket brokers like StubHub. StubHub was one of the first ticket resellers to operate online; individual people, of course, have long been in the ticket reselling business, and are usually referred to as scalpers. Moving the process online, and becoming a middleman that enables transactions for ticket buyers and sellers everywhere, was StubHub’s innovation. As one might expect, some people love StubHub while others hate it; the company has gained quite a following but also attracts its share of criticism. In this article I will look at whether StubHub is a legitimate company and whether it is safe to buy tickets from them.
StubHub was created in 2000 by Eric Baker and Jeff Fluhr, a pair of San Francisco-based Stanford Business School graduates and investment bankers. By 2003 the company had become profitable, and the pair sold StubHub to e-trading giant eBay in 2007 for $310 million. Since that time, eBay has made StubHub the core of its ticket reselling operation.
StubHub works by reselling tickets for live entertainment events. Venues, sports teams, performers, etc., can use the service directly to sell tickets to their upcoming events, and individual ticket holders or brokers can also post tickets for sale on the site. StubHub makes its money by collecting a commission on each ticket sold. While it is possible to get a discount ticket price via StubHub, the service is more useful for acquiring tickets at the last-minute or for events that are officially sold out.
Is StubHub legit?
In a word, yes. The company is entirely legitimate, and has the rights to sell or resell all the tickets on its website. As it is owned by eBay, it has the financial backing of one of the world’s largest companies. That doesn’t mean StubHub is without faults, though.
StubHub has exactly the same faults as its parent company: few resources dedicated to customer care, spotty (at best) after-sales service, and the appearance of not caring about customer satisfaction. StubHub regularly garners less-than-stellar reviews online. However, StubHub is also one of the few ticket resellers who guarantee the legitimacy of their tickets. That is something many of the competition do not, or cannot do. Even if acquiring the ticket or tickets could be an unforeseen hassle, knowing the tickets will be real is still a very important layer of security, and a bit of a hassle certainly beats spending tens or hundreds of dollars on what could turn out to be little more than card stock if you purchase resold tickets for a less reputable service.
Public perception of StubHub
As you might imagine, StubHub has its fair share of both fans and detractors, with reasonable explanations for both.
In 2006, more than 100 New York Yankees season-ticket holders who had sold seats on StubHub received letters denying them the right to buy playoff tickets for 2006 and further banning them from buying season tickets for the 2007 season. Although StubHub was not directly responsible for those fans’ alleged violation of Yankees rules regarding tickets, it was an is an open secret that the site will permit people to sell tickets even when the original ticket issuer is unhappy with that.
A more serious incident also occurred in 2006, when a number of fans of the New England Patriots reported showed up at games with phony tickets that had been bought at StubHub. Some were counterfeit while others were voided tickets sold by fans who had their tickets for the season revoked. The Patriots demanded that StubHub provide a list of Patriots season ticket holders who had used the site; the site eventually lost in Massachusetts state courts.
While there are many negative reviews of StubHub, there are also plenty of positive ones. When reading reviews of any online organization, it’s important to put things into perspective. While looking at Yelp, Consumer Reports, or the BBB you will see lots of negative reviews about StubHub. They will all have their point of view and should all be taken into consideration. However, you should also be aware that the company does guarantee its tickets – if you buy tickets on the site that turn out to be fake, you will get your money back.
I think it’s important to consider that while there might be a couple hundred negative reviews, there are also positive ones. Also consider that a couple hundred negative reviews compared to millions of transactions per year is not a lot, especially when you take into account that most people are more likely to report a negative experience than to report an unremarkable experience that went off without a hitch. Of course, all businesses would prefer not to have negative reviews, but in a business of this scale that just isn’t possible.
I use StubHub and have done for a few years now. I have been fortunate in that all the tickets I bought were legitimate and got me into the venue. There are those who haven’t been so lucky. That said, I have also heard first hand how StubHub called the buyer, told them there was a problem, and managed to source alternative tickets for the same venue.
StubHub is a legitimate place to buy tickets but it does have its limitations. As long as you use the site with these in mind, you should have no problems. As always when buying anything online caveat emptor is the term of the day.
Have you used StubHub? Have you had any issues? Any experiences of customer services, good or bad? Tell us about it below.
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StubHub does have some competition – check out our article on which is better, Vivid Seats or StubHub. Interested in buying plane tickets with your Apple Pay? Emirate Airlines now allows that! Want to bid on plane tickets online? Read our tutorial on where and how to bid on flights. And be sure to read our piece on using Priceline to get tickets.