Sunday, 8 January 2017

[US]Free tickets to President Obama's farewell speech sell for $10,000 online


President Barack Obama will be delivering a farewell address on Tuesday (10 January) in his hometown, Chicago. While tickets to see the historic final address of the commander-in-chief are free, some people are looking to capitalise by selling them on online.

Free tickets for the address at Chicago's McCormick Place were available on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday (7 January). They were quickly gone. According to the Chicago Tribune, by the next day auctions on dozens of the highly sought-after tickets popped up on websites like eBay and Craigslist for thousands of dollars apiece.
Steve Bernas, Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois president, urged people not to buy them and run the risk of spending money on counterfeit tickets. "Stay away from these tickets," Bernas told the Tribune. "You don't know who these people are. It's different buying a couch on Craigslist. You can see the couch ... There's no way to verify these tickets."

Bernas added that people who do buy the tickets will not know whether they have been scammed until they are told they have fake tickets at the door. "Someone is always looking to make a profit on a situation, disaster or calamity," he said. "I guarantee someone will be turned away on Tuesday."

However, the Tribune noted that images in the adverts appeared to match legitimate tickets scored by the lucky few.

In the top search on eBay, a listing for "President Barack Obama's farewell speech tickets" have a starting bid of $2,500 (£2,327) and a list price of $10,000. The listing says the seller does not offer returns and "will arrange for pick up". The image clearly shows the fine print which notes the tickets are "not for sale or re-sale".

Listings on Craigslist appear to go for just as much, with one listing selling a single ticket for $2,000 and another for selling two tickets for $4,500. Another listing checked UK had been flagged for removal.

Some people hoping to get tickets expressed frustration that those who had the tickets were wiling to sell them.

"You're gonna go wait in line, get free tickets for an event that was meant for the people, then put up those tickets for sale, gouging people for their money to hear one last speech by Obama," a user wrote on a Craigslist post.

"Meanwhile people that woke up early waiting in line in five [degree] weather to get tickets had to hear after 45 mins or more of waiting, 'Sorry folks, tickets are all gone', due in part to [expletive] such as yourself."

Neither the White House nor the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates McCormick Place, have commented on the sale of tickets, according to the Tribune.

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