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eBay Duke Ticket Auction Could Carry Penalties

eBay Duke Ticket Auction Could Carry Penalties

While the tickets usually sell face value for about $25 and student tickets have a face value of $0, some students and UNC fans are utilizing the online services to gain bids ranging from $300 to $350 -- a violation of the Honor Code for students.

As the world's largest online marketplace, eBay allows users to auction materials with no charge.

But eBay has several guidelines and policies that users must adhere to before they can sell an item. First, applicants must register as an eBay user, provide a valid credit card number and make sure their item potentially listed is allowed on the Web site.

There are three classifications of items on eBay with special guidelines -- prohibited, questionable or potentially infringing items. Event tickets are listed as items that are questionable, meaning they can be auctioned according to specific regulations.

Event ticket policies on eBay depend on the location of the entertainment event. According to N.C. Chapter 14 Criminal Laws, people might be charged with felony or misdemeanor charges if they sell tickets for more than their value. And eBay only permits the resale of N.C. tickets at the face value of the ticket plus $3 for all entertainment events.

Still, students said the lure of quick cash is hard to resist.

"If I had tickets that I didn't want, I would put them on eBay because it is an easier way for the fan community to get tickets and everyone will come out better in the end," freshman Natenna Dobson said.

Dobson said she is a committed UNC fan but that it is difficult to get good tickets to men's basketball games. She also said she believes it is OK to sell tickets online because some college students do not have a lot of cash. "People get the tickets -- I get and need the money," she said.

And freshman Mike Kelso said ticket distribution was designed so he could sell tickets. "I could watch the game on TV and have money in my pocket as well," said Kelso, who doesn't have Duke tickets.

But Clint Gwaltney, director of the ticket office, said selling and auctioning student tickets online is a violation of the Honor Code. "They are not supposed to sell student tickets," he said. "When instances like this happen, they spoil it for the students that want to go to the games."

Although Gwaltney said no laws exist governing whether students can scalp tickets, he said he believes there is a fine line distinguishing between auctioning and scalping student tickets.

Some students also said their classmates shouldn't sell tickets online. "They're taking tickets away from students, and the reason we have the whole ticket distribution process is to get student tickets," said freshman Chris Brown.

Sophomore Torin Martinez said he wouldn't sell Duke tickets. "I wouldn't sell the Duke tickets because I would never get the tickets again due to the fact that UNC has a good ranking right now."

But students continue to use eBay, indicating the consequences of selling and auctioning tickets are not a concern. Many find it an accessible and efficient way to make money with no fuss.

"If it is legal and doesn't break any laws, (selling) is fine," said junior Ayana Griffin. "It shouldn't be sold for more than what the ticket is worth, though."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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