Is Vivid Seats a Trusted Site for Buying Tickets in 2024

Looking to buy tickets for an upcoming concert, game, or show? With so many options out there, it can be hard to know which ticket sellers you can trust. Vivid Seats is one of the largest ticket marketplaces, but is it a legitimate and reliable choice today?

After carefully researching Vivid Seats, reviewing their policies, and analyzing customer feedback, I believe there are better options than Vivid Seats for peace of mind when buying event tickets in 2024. While they have a long history and offer some advantages like deals on sold-out events, issues around lack of transparency, poor service, and fraud risks stand out as concerns.

In this detailed guide, I’ll explain what Vivid Seats is, break down their fees and buyer protection, highlight key customer complaints, and ultimately help you decide if Vivid Seats is worth using as your ticket source this year.

What is Vivid Seats Exactly?

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Chicago, Vivid Seats operates as an online ticket marketplace connecting buyers and sellers. It serves as a secondary ticket source rather than a primary seller like Ticketmaster.

Here are the key things to know about Vivid Seats’ business model and approach:

  • Allows buyers to purchase secondhand tickets from individual sellers and professional brokers
  • Provides a platform for sellers to list and sell event tickets they can’t use
  • Focuses on US events but offers some international ticket inventory too
  • Vivid Seats sells tickets for sports events, theater shows, comedy gigs, music festivals, and more
  • Makes money by charging service fees on each transaction as well as taking a commission from sellers
  • Touts relationships with major partners like ESPN, Rolling Stone, and select sports teams
  • Vivid Seats sold over 100 million tickets to date

Unlike a primary seller that releases its own ticket inventory, Vivid Seats operates as a secondary marketplace facilitating exchanges between sellers and buyers. This peer-to-peer model has some advantages but also notable drawbacks compared to traditional ticket sources.

Is Buying Tickets on Vivid Seats Legitimate and Secure?

When buying anything online, especially high-demand event tickets, you want assurance that the seller is operating legally and the transaction will be secure. Here’s what you need to know about Vivid Seats’ legitimacy and buyer protections:

  • Yes, Vivid Seats is a legitimate business – it has been around for over 20 years and is not a scam.
  • Vivid Seats claims to vet all sellers on its marketplace to prevent fraud before allowing them to list tickets. Sellers must warrant they possess the tickets being sold.
  • The company offers a Vivid Seats Buyer Guarantee on every purchase. This states that if tickets are invalid for any reason, the buyer will receive replacement tickets or a full refund. This provides buyer protection against issues like fake or duplicate tickets.
  • For added security, Vivid Seats recommends buyers choose mobile ticket delivery options over printed tickets that could be counterfeited. E-tickets come directly from the source organizer.

However, it’s important to note that there are scattered reports online of some customers receiving fake or unusable tickets from Vivid Seats sellers. Details on these complaints are limited though, and it seems problems may not be widespread. But when using a secondary source like Vivid Seats there is always inherent risk, which buyers should weigh carefully.

What Payment Options Does Vivid Seats Offer?

Vivid Seats accepts all major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. You can also check out with mobile payment options including:

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • PayPal Credit

Notably, Vivid Seats does not accept cash payments. This is likely to prevent fraud and keep transactions traceable.

All payments are processed through Vivid’s secure online checkout system. The website uses encryption technology to protect buyer’s personal and payment information.

How Much Are Vivid Seats’ Fees and Are They Transparent?

One of the most common complaints against Vivid Seats in customer reviews is their lack of transparency around fees that drive up the final event ticket prices. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Vivid Seats charges service fees on every ticket purchase. These fees average around 20-40% of the original list price based on reports.
  • Buyers are also subject to delivery fees depending on the fulfillment method chosen. These shipping fees range anywhere from $7 on the low end up to $25+.
  • The exact fees are not shown upfront before the buyer enters payment details. The final price including all Vivid Seats’ charges is only revealed at checkout.
  • This causes frustration for many customers who feel baited-and-switched after service and shipping fees inflate the price significantly higher than the list price.
  • While Vivid Seats claims its average ticket prices can be 5-15% cheaper than primary market prices, tacking on 20% in fees often erases any perceived discount.

Vivid Seats argues the service fees cover costs of running a safe, secure marketplace. However, the lack of transparency still rubs many buyers the wrong way.

Can You Get Any Discounts on Vivid Seats?

Vivid Seats does offer some opportunities to save for repeat buyers through its Vivid Seats Rewards program. Here’s an overview:

  • Buyers earn 1 reward credit for each ticket purchased through Vivid Seats
  • Once you accumulate 10 credits, you’ll receive a Reward Credit equal to the average price of those 10 tickets (excluding fees)
  • This Reward Credit can be applied toward future ticket purchases to help save on costs
  • Other perks include birthday discounts, presale ticket opportunities, and free ticket upgrades

Buyers are also sometimes eligible for promo codes offering a percent-off discount or dollars off. Vivid Seats may email discount codes to members of the rewards program too.

So loyal buyers can potentially take advantage of some savings, but the opaque fees still remain an issue.

What is Vivid Seats’ Cancellation and Refund Policy?

One of Vivid Seats’ firm policies is that no cancellations are allowed once a ticket purchase is completed. All sales are final.

However, Vivid Seats does have a refund policy if an event is outright canceled (not just postponed). In that case, the buyer is eligible for a full refund including the price paid for the tickets as well as any delivery fees.

For rescheduled events, Vivid Seats states they will facilitate reissues of tickets for the new date. Buyers may need to contact customer service for assistance with reissues though.

Again, it’s important to remember Vivid Seats acts as an intermediary between independent sellers and buyers. So the seller is responsible for ensuring the tickets are delivered, not Vivid Seats itself. This becomes very relevant if any disputes arise.

What Do Customer Reviews Say About Buying From Vivid Seats?

Independent customer reviews of Vivid Seats paint a mixed picture. Across different ratings platforms, opinions range from very positive to very negative:

  • On Trustpilot, Vivid Seats has over 13,346 reviews averaging just 3.9 out of 5 stars.
  • The SiteJabber profile shows over  2,363 reviews with a higher 4.05 star average.
  • Analysis of reviews reveals consistent complaints around poor customer service, hidden fees inflating costs, and ticket delivery problems.
  • But some buyers report great experiences purchasing tickets, especially when using the Buyer Guarantee for refunds on unusable tickets.
  • It seems experiences vary widely depending on the event, seller, and customer service rep involved.

In general, buyers seem split on whether Vivid Seats is a reliable ticketing platform based on reviews. There are clearly some satisfied customers but also many who say they’ll never use Vivid Seats again after getting burned on hidden fees or having ticket issues.

Is Vivid Seats’ Customer Service Helpful?

From analyzing Vivid Seats reviews, one of the biggest pain points appears to be poor customer service when issues inevitably come up:

  • Many buyers complain of rude, unhelpful reps when contacting customer service for support.
  • Customers report problems getting resolutions from Vivid Seats even when appealing to customer service supervisors.
  • Trying to call Vivid Seats for support can involve very long hold times of 30 minutes or more based on reports.
  • But there are also some buyers who praise Vivid Seats reps for providing fast, satisfactory assistance.

It seems contacting Vivid Seats customer service can be frustratingly hit or miss. With tickets, timing is everything so not getting rapid support can ruin plans.

How Does Vivid Seats Perform for Sports Ticket Buyers?

Along with concerts and theater shows, live sports events make up a major share of tickets sold through Vivid Seats. Here is a rundown focused specifically on the sports ticket buying experience:

What Sports Tickets Can I Buy on Vivid Seats?

Vivid Seats provides tickets for all the major professional sports leagues and college sports:

  • NFL football
  • NBA basketball
  • NHL hockey
  • MLB baseball
  • MLS soccer
  • WWE wrestling
  • Boxing & MMA events
  • NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 racing
  • PGA golf tournaments
  • College football (NCAA)
  • College basketball (NCAA)
  • Tennis tournaments
  • X Games
  • Olympics

The selection includes regular season games, playoffs, championships, local matchups, and major sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup Final, and Daytona 500.

How Do Vivid Seats’ Sports Ticket Prices Compare to Other Sellers?

Analysis shows Vivid Seats often offers savings compared to primary market prices on high-demand sporting events. Here are some examples of the average price differences:

  • NFL tickets are around 20% cheaper compared to Ticketmaster’s prices.
  • For the NBA, Vivid Seats prices can be 15% less on average.
  • NHL hockey tickets sell for approximately 13% below primary market prices.
  • MLB baseball tickets are typically 8% cheaper.

Keep in mind this does not factor in Vivid Seats’ service and delivery fees on top of the sale price. But there is potential for significant savings on face value before the extra charges.

Should You Use Vivid Seats for Concert Tickets?

Concert tours make up a massive percentage of the tickets sold through Vivid Seats. Here’s an overview focused on the concert ticket buying experience specifically:

What Concert Tickets are Available on Vivid Seats?

Vivid Seats provides an extensive selection of concert tickets spanning all music genres and types of shows:

  • Pop megastars like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Beyonce
  • Rock bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who, and Tool
  • Hip hop icons like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Wayne
  • Country stars like Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and Shania Twain
  • Heavy metal acts including Slipknot, Megadeth, and Disturbed
  • Latin sensations Bad Bunny, Los Bukis, and Marc Anthony
  • EDM DJs like Martin Garrix, Illenium, and Zeds Dead
  • Local club shows and theater concerts
  • The biggest annual music festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and EDC
  • International tours from acts across the globe

No matter your taste in live music, Vivid Seats likely offers tickets for concerts on your wish list.

Can You Score Deals on Sold-Out or Last Minute Concert Tickets?

One advantage of Vivid Seats is the ability to sometimes find discounted tickets to concerts with high demand:

  • As events sell out, holders often offload extra tickets on Vivid Seats just to recoup costs.
  • Similarly, prices tend to drop leading up to show dates as sellers get desperate to unload inventory.
  • For Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, the average price paid was 55% below primary market value based on sales data.
  • Persistence and flexibility on dates can lead to big savings on popular sold out events.

Just be aware that the most in-demand concerts will still command premium pricing regardless. But serious music fans can potentially score deals on secondary markets like Vivid Seats for hot tours.

Final Verdict – Is Vivid Seats a Trusted Source for Event Tickets?

In summary, while Vivid Seats enjoys longevity in the ticket resale industry, its reputation is quite mixed in 2024. Here is my final verdict as a ticket buyer:

Vivid Seats offers a legitimate ticket marketplace but is not the most trusted choice compared to alternatives. Lack of transparency on fees, fraud risks from sellers, and poor customer service stand out as red flags.

However, buyers willing to take precautions can still find major discounts on high-demand events when needing tickets. Vivid Seats allows you to search an ample inventory you won’t find elsewhere.

My recommendation is to carefully evaluate your options, understand Vivid Seats’ limitations, and use protections like mobile ticket delivery to minimize risks. But better peace of mind likely exists with other ticket sellers. Use Vivid Seats strategically but cautiously in 2024.

In the end, for reliable stress-free ticket buying, I believe SeatGeek and primary sources like Ticketmaster still reign supreme over marketplaces like Vivid Seats today.

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