Kevin Hunt - The Bottom Line
The Bottom Line
October 20, 2012
John Carpenter, an infrequent rock concertgoer from Windsor, was simultaneously excited and dumbfounded after he searched for, and found, two tickets online to a J. Geils Band concert at Mohegan Sun the day before the Sept. 16 show.
"The J. Geils Band," he says, "is one of the few bands on my 'bucket list.'"
Carpenter paid $157 for two tickets, prime floor-level seats, at Official-Online-Tickets.com. The actual path of the tickets — is there a GPS available? — is uncertain , but they landed at Ticketworld, a longtime Hartford ticket reseller, then finally posted for sale at Official-Online-Tickets.com, another reseller. That adds up to a lot of service fees for the $35 face-value tickets and some serious confusion.
Ticketworld remained the ticket holder, but Carpenter never understood that. He thought they originated at Mohegan Sun, the concert site. Somewhere, Carpenter musta got lost, because he never received the tickets even though he went to Mohegan Sun expecting to pick them up.
Ticketworld, in fact, had someone waiting nearby Mohegan Sun with the tickets, yet buyer and seller never connected. Carpenter blames Ticketworld and wants a refund, even while admitting to some "errors and assumptions." Ticketworld says Carpenter ignored its instructions on where and when to meet.
"He called the Monday after the concert," says Ticketworld owner Rod Cardwell, "and claimed he didn't know he was buying them from a different entity and he thought he was purchasing them directly from Mohegan Sun. He made those assumptions, for whatever reasons I don't know."
The day of the concert, says Carpenter, he called Official-Online-Tickets.com and was told to pick up the tickets later at the Mohegan Sun's Arena Club. Both Official-Online-Tickets.com and Cardwell have since told him that could not have happened because neither is affiliated with the casino.
"If he called Mohegan Sun and asked where their customers pick up their tickets," says Cardwell, "maybe they gave him that information. But he certainly didn't call our company or TicketNetwork's company and get that information."
Carpenter says he emailed Ticketworld asking how to get the tickets. He called, too, only to hear a voice recording saying the office was closed. But Cardwell says, after checking the email records, that his company responded to the 1:04 p.m. email at 1:11 p.m.
"So within seven minutes after he emailed saying he didn't get the information, he had the information," he says. "He never responded to that email."
Carpenter says he deleted the email without opening it because Ticketworld was not identified as the source. "I thought it was a spam message," he says, "or a message containing a virus."
Instead, it was from a Ticketworld customer representative, a name Carpenter now says he should have recognized. He later found out that Ticketworld also had left a message with on his home answering machine requesting a return call, but no number, so he says he could not return the call.
Carpenter provided The Bottom Line a copy of the original purchase-confirmation email from Official-Online-Tickets.com that identified Ticketworld as the ticket seller.
"I thought when I purchased the tickets that I was dealing directly with Mohegan Sun," says Carpenter. "But as soon as I read the part that said, 'These tickets will be picked up a secure location near, though not at, the venue of the event,' I knew that this was not the case."
So now Carpenter and a friend have arrived at Mohegan Sun, not knowing their tickets' location or, possibly, their quality. They were Section 1, Row L, on the floor.
"You have only two ways of getting those for the J. Geils show," says Cardwell. "You have to be a high-roller at the Mohegan Sun and you would typically lose thousands of dollars a year or you would buy them from the J. Geils fan club, where they were over $100 a ticket. He got a tremendous deal."
But not the seats. Carpenter and his friend bought two lesser extras for $10 each from another concertgoer. "The upper level," says Carpenter, "toward the back."
Cardwell still has the original floor-seat tickets, and a little advice for Carpenter and other online-ticket buyers: The web is filled with ticket sellers, but there's only one ticket holder.
"In the future," Cardwell says, "if he ever wanted anything, we would gladly work with him and give him a better deal, maybe save him the service fee. In terms of the event, he purchased the tickets, we had a representative there to meet him and he chose not to pick them up."
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