'I want to know how Ticketmaster can allow this to happen?' – fans angry as Celine Dion tickets hit re-sale site, moments after going live

Anna Burns-Francis
Source: Fair Go

Ticketmaster is under fire from furious fans who missed out on Celine Dion tickets - but the company says the shortage was at least partly because the event is "highly sought-after".

Fair Go has been inundated with complaints from wannabe ticket-buyers, who tried to get seats when the general admission sale started last week. 

Hundreds who missed out contacted Fair Go, after discovering there were plenty of tickets available - on Ticketmaster's Resale website, a secondary market seller at inflated prices.

The lowest mark-up was an extra $400 per ticket above face value.

"I want to know how Ticketmaster can allow this to happen?" said one Celine fan.

All the listings had an "in trade" flag on them - meaning the seller wasn't a one-off individual, but likely a third party associated with the event, such as the promoter, event sponsor or advertiser - or a bulk-buying ticket-company operating as a professional re-seller. 

Ticketmaster says it can't comment on who is selling the tickets - citing confidentiality and privacy.

"Our priority is to help artists get as many tickets as possible into the hands of fans," it said in a statement.

The company sells more than one billion dollars' worth of secondary market tickets every year.

But a 2016 report into the United States 'secondary market' - that's ticket resellers - revealed as little as 25 per cent of tickets are made available for general sale there. 

The rest are given away in 'pre-allocations' or put aside for 'pre-sales' where organised ticket scalpers often buy up big.

Ticketmaster wouldn't reveal how many tickets were pre-allocated at its New Zealand concerts, saying it couldn't discuss "client ticketing strategies".

None of that is any comfort to those who missed out.

"I have waited 20 years to see my idol, only to be highly devastated" said one.

Ticket scalping is not illegal in New Zealand, unless it is a 'major event' such as the Rugby World Cup. Celine Dion does not meet the required threshold.