Thursday June 21, 2012

LENOX -- Here's a deal: Tanglewood tickets to see Taylor Swift play with James Taylor, available now, at a cost of only three times their face value.

Sound terrible? It is.

But if you buy seats online, you could unwittingly wind up paying outrageously inflated prices for tickets that are still available at the regular rates directly through the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Dominating Web search re sults for queries like "Tangle wood tickets" are third-party websites that promise discounts but actually deliver steep markups.

For the July 2 show, for example, a $25 lawn ticket will set you back more than $75 if you order it from the non-BSO affiliated tanglewoodtickets.com.

Making matters worse, the sites charge shipping and a $20 service fee, all tacked on after you enter your credit card information.

To avoid getting burned, the BSO advises concert-goers to always purchase from their website, bso.org. You can also order by phone; dial (888) 266-1200.

The resellers do offer one advantage over the traditional box office -- they have tickets for seats that have already sold out. But be prepared to pay a high cost of entry; for Taylor's Fourth of July run of three concerts -- July 2, 3 and 4, getting a seat in the front-and-center section will run you over $700.

Even if that price doesn't deter you, buy with caution. Though the Better Business Bureau gives BigStub.com, the site that operates tanglewoodtickets.com, a rating of ‘B plus', six complaints have been lodged against the company in the past three years.

Consumers complained about being surprised by the service charge, getting worse seats than they thought were being advertised, and showing up to a venue and learning that their tickets were not valid.

To reach Ned Oliver:
noliver@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @NedOliver