She said Ticket Center looked like an official State Fair website, even if the prices were high. But as she bought her $115 tickets, Stinebrink tells TODAY'S TMJ4 she missed a message on the site saying "prices are set by third party sellers and may be above face value." She got the tickets in the mail and saw the face value was 29 dollars.
"I felt like I had been cheated," said Stinebrink.
Stinebrink spent 690 dollars on tickets worth 175 dollars. She called and Stinebrink said the company explained the disclaimer to her. Still, she questions if they should be able to sell for that much more.
"It's kind of unethical," Stinebrink said. But, it is legal.
The I-TEAM questioned Ticket Center about their pricing.
They write in an email "we do not set prices. In fact, we technically do not buy, sell or own tickets. We are an exchange set up to facilitate commerce." They tell us sellers set their own prices- "based on simple market economics of supply and demand."
Kristi Chuckel from the Wisconsin State Fair explains inflated ticket resale prices come from a complicated system.
First- she says websites like Ticket Center and Stubhub pay to show up at the top of your searches.
"We do some paid search, but there's only so much you can spend and I think a lot of these companies, I mean, this is how they make their money," Chuckel said.
Stinebrink said the site looked legitimate- Chuckel tells us that's no accident.
"For these websites to kind of mimic our site or make it look legitimate, we really can't stop them," she said.
Chuckel said State Fair and other venues take security measures, limiting how many tickets people can buy and flagging known resellers.
"We do everything that we can," she said.
A national bill signed in December 2016 also helps. It bans ticket resellers from using computer bots to go around security systems to buy a bunch of tickets, But Chuckel said they still find ways.
So if you're buying tickets here's what she recommends:
Make sure you're on the official website.
If something feels off, it might be.
She recommends calling the venue or checking their website
And if you're still not comfortable- just buy the tickets over the phone.
Stinebrink said she's learned her lesson, and that's likely what she'll be doing from now on.
"I think I might make sure I actually talk to a person instead of doing it online," she said.
Chuckel said Stinebrink handled this well, calling State Fair to verify her tickets were legitimate.
Stinebrink also called her credit card company to dispute the charge on her card. She doesn't have the result of that yet, but she will update us as that continues.