Taylor Swift Ticket Scalping Soars

JONESBORO --  Tickets to a Jonesboro performance by teen singing sensation Taylor Swift are making for "swift" and expensive sales on the internet.  It seems the very same tickets purchased two weeks ago are now on sites like eBay for hundreds of dollars over the original price.  How is that legal since Arkansas has a law against ticket scalping?

"It's a love story, just say yes," sings Taylor Swift, dressed in a princess gown as she gazes into the eyes of a young man dressed the part of a prince.

The crossover artist sings of being a princess and tickets to her performance are like gold.  Seven thousand tickets to her Jonesboro performance sold out in two and a half hours. Now some of those same tickets are showing up again on the internet.

Taylor Swift tickets for the Jonesboro concert are now selling for $200, $300, $400--even $600 dollars for two tickets.

"I can assure you that every venue that has this show that's coming up, there are tickets out there on the secondary market for sale for a price that is substantially higher than what the individuals paid for," said Tim Dean, director of the Convocation Center.

So, is this considered scalping?  Ticket scalping is illegal in the state of Arkansas.

"We take the position that selling tickets at a price above face value--except for a small handling fee--but certainly four and five hundred dollars for these tickets is in violation of Arkansas law and is a crime under Arkansas law," said Justin Allen, Chief Deputy, Arkansas Attorney General's Office.

Prosecuting it is a different story.  Take the Hannah Montana ticket fiasco back in December of 2007.  The Attorney General's office launched an investigation after computer software known as "bots," or robots bought up hundreds of tickets at once for resale--knocking the average consumer out of the opportunity on-line.  That investigation is still on-going.  It's difficult to find out just who's selling the tickets on the internet.

"These people are to a large extent able to hide over the internet and Ii like I said, people like eBay, Stub Hub, etc--these resale sites are very protective of their users and we're having a difficult time getting them to share information with us that will allow us to identify for instance in the Hannah Montana situation the people who bought up large amounts of tickets and then turned around and sold them," said Allen.

Consumers should beware when buying tickets over the internet.  The AG's office says fraud is always a major concern.

For some people there's no price too high to pay for what they want.  Just getting a ticket is music to their ears.

"We are selling a product and once that product leaves our hands--it's not anything any different than if you happened to pick up an antique at an antique store at a really good buy and you go out and sell it for three times what you paid for it," explained Dean.

If someone buys a ticket on eBay, do they have to worry about being prosecuted?  The answer is no.  The AG's office doesn't have the resources to go after one or two people.   What they are focusing on are those people who buy up large quantities of tickets for re-sale.  Trying to make money that way is a direct violation of Arkansas civil law--of what's called the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.