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Friday, April 19, 2024
Bucky Selling Tickets

A UW-Madison student wanted to buy a basketball ticket. Instead, she found herself down $80

Without a third-party service for securely selling student tickets, students that miss out on season tickets are forced to use social media to seek out and purchase student tickets.

Mira Vassallo just wanted a pair of basketball tickets. But after missing out on season tickets, which sold out within 11 minutes after going on sale at 7:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, Vassalo was forced to find another way to secure student section tickets.

UW Athletics does not offer a third-party service for securely selling student tickets. So when Vassallo needed to find tickets for the game, she checked social media. 

“I couldn’t find anything on the [University of Wisconsin-Madison] Snapchat stories,” Vassallo said. “So I went to Facebook.”

A top-ten team coming to the Kohl Center is a hot commodity. And without a licensed system to buy tickets, it was nearly impossible to find tickets to see a Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team fresh off throttling Arkansas State in its season opener, she said.

But Vassalo was hopeful after stumbling on a Facebook post selling student tickets for the game. 

“I sent him the money to buy the tickets, and then he was like, ‘It’s not letting me send the tickets unless I pay this processing fee, can you pay me extra?’” she said. “That’s never happened to me before. I was tired and stressed, so I was like, ‘Okay, whatever.’”

When the scammer asked for more money for a processing fee on the second ticket, Vassallo said she thought it seemed “a bit weird.” That’s when the scammer began to get aggressive.

“He said, ‘It wouldn’t be weird if you just did what I asked,’ and [he] started to get weird,” Vassallo said. “I didn’t really know what to do. I sent it because I wanted to get it over with.”

When Vassallo asked for a refund, she said knew she wasn’t going to get one, but the scammer remained aggressive until he stopped responding. Just like that, she was out $80.

Vassallo said the scammer sent her what she thought was a picture of his Wiscard when they started chatting, but she later found out his name was not in the student directory.

“I was in class trying to do this, and then it just all hit me,” she said. “I went to the bathroom and cried.”

Getting scammed while buying Badger tickets is nothing new. Ticket scams have been mentioned as early as a June 2017 post in the UW-Madison Reddit community and have been a recurring topic of conversation since.

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A 2019 post detailed a person who lost $150 through a Facebook group.

“The [seller] didn't show up in-person. My friend has called the bank and tried to cancel the transaction since it hasn't shown up on her account. Right now, they are hoping to get their money back,” the post read. “I feel bad for them. They were so excited about the game; it would've been their first.”

Other posts — some as recent as Oct. 2023 — mentioned wariness about purchasing tickets through Facebook.

UW Athletics told the Daily Cardinal it is “continually evaluating ways to optimize our procedures and assist our students in the ticketing process.”

“UW Athletics advises all of our patrons to purchase tickets only through trusted parties,” they said. “In the case of students, we recommend only buying from someone you know and trust.”

UW Athletics said it has assurances in place to make sure ticket holders have a “smooth ticketing experience” at games but acknowledged ticket fraud happens. “Unfortunately, third-party transactions — outside of SeatGeek, our preferred partner — are beyond our control.”

But websites like SeatGeek do not offer a platform to resell student section tickets, often including hidden fees that can add a significant amount to the original price.

Without an officially licensed student tickets reselling platform, Vassallo ended up using the UW-Madison Snapchat story to buy the ticket. 

She wouldn’t recommend using Facebook to buy tickets.

“People shouldn’t be allowed to try and sell tickets on Facebook because it’s so unreliable. I tried to report the guy on Facebook and they didn’t do anything,” Vassallo said. “People get scammed so much.”

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