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The rules for buying and selling tickets in France

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
The rules for buying and selling tickets in France
A man looks at the Paris 2024 ticketing website, in Indre, western France, on March 20, 2023. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

If you are buying or selling tickets to events such as a concerts, matches or festivals in France, then there are some rules to be aware of, especially as the Olympic and Paralympic Games approach.

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In France, there are laws regulating the sale and resale of tickets. These have the main goal of protecting consumers from scams, as well as keeping speculation from driving up the cost of tickets.

The basic advice is to buy from official sites if possible - the French government warns that buying a ticket outside of official sites can lead to "paying much more for a ticket than its face value, receiving a copy of an electronic ticket that has been resold several times, receiving a ticket whose characteristics do not correspond to those mentioned in the advert, never actually receiving a ticket, and being refused access to a show (the ticket may have already been scanned or bears another name)."

If the event you want is sold out, secondary ticketing sites do exist in France, but there are strict controls to be aware of and for certain events tickets cannot be resold.

What to look for when buying a ticket

According to the French government, official tickets should include the price, category of the event and placement (either a seat number or 'placement libre' to indicate that there is no numbered seating).

It should also contain the name of the event organiser or intermediary.

Keep in mind that the initial ticket price displayed may not include additional service fees that come up when finalising the order. These costs may range from a few cents to a few euros, but you must be clearly informed about them.

If additional fees are unclear, you can file a report with the fraud watchdog SignalConso.

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Should to resale a ticket - for example for an event that you cannot attend - or buy a resold ticket then this allowed, albeit with limitations.

Reselling a ticket

There are three situations when you are either not allowed to resell a ticket, or there are additional constraints;

  • If the sale is done on a regular basis. In this case, you would need authorisation from the party producing the show. If you do not have this, then you risk fines of up to €15,000. This is intended to avoid people buying up many tickets at once and then selling them at different prices.
  • If the show is subsidised by the French government in any way, then the re-sale price cannot exceed its purchase value.
  • 'Non-transferrable' tickets are entirely legal, which means that the organiser of the event has every right to refuse you if your name does not correspond to the one on the ticket. In this case, it is likely that the only way to get rid of your ticket would be to list it on the official resale website (if available). For big events, especially sports internationals, it's common to have to assign a name to each ticket before you can download it.

Many concerts and sporting events will offer their own 'ticket exchange' platforms where consumers can resell and buy tickets with the assurance that the transaction is legitimate - this is especially the case for non-transferrable tickets.

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If this is the case, then you would be advised not to re-sell your ticket outside of the official resale platform. In certain cases, this may not be permitted at all.

What if I bought a fake ticket?

You can report it to police, but there is a low chance you will get your money back. The preliminary complaint can be filed here

READ MORE: What to do if you have fallen victim to a scam in France

What about official resale sites?

Several large events and companies have begun using official resale (revante) websites, such as the 2024 Olympic Games and occasionally concerts hosted by Ticketmaster.

This is especially common for sporting events and festivals when there is a security concern about the number of people in attendance.

As for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is not authorised to sell tickets outside of official channels, and this can actually constitute a criminal offence. 

In the case of the Olympic Games, "it will be possible to buy tickets on the official resale platform until the day before the closing ceremonies, subject to availability," according to their website.

Tickets will be available up to 12 hours before the start of the match or event. You can access the platform HERE.

READ MORE: Hotels, tickets and scams: What to know about visiting Paris for the 2024 Olympics

When it comes to the Olympics, having an official ticket is crucial as this will be used to enter security zones that would normally require QR codes to be shown.

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