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Sabres FAIL – Bad bar codes mean bad tickets

Filed under: Puck Stop

The bad news came via email to affected season ticket holders, a mere 28 hours till the puck drops to open the home schedule at HSBC Arena.

“Due to a production error by our outside printing vendor, the barcodes on your Season Tickets for the seat listed below is incorrect. Your tickets have been re-printed with the correct barcodes and are currently being held in our Box Office. This printer error occured in only a small number of 100 Level tickets.”


For some people, those beautiful colorful season ticket booklets which were sent out last month are no good. Dead tickets. They won’t be successfully scanned at the arena entrance, and fans will be turned away if they try to enter.

So just how many customers are affected?

Upon heading down to the arena’s account services department late this afternoon, the staff was busy fielding call after call from customers attempting to get clarification on this mess. One staffer was overheard saying “thousands of seats” on the phone, while the young lady taking care of me said “at least a couple hundred, a lot.” We attempted to reach Sabres spokesman Mike Gilbert to get more information, but were not successful.

So here is what we do know. A certain number of seats in the 100 level were incorrectly printed with invalid bar codes. They will not scan and patrons will not be allowed to enter the arena, but will be sent too account services or the ticket office for further assistance.

Affected customers must either turn in their old season tickets or destroy them. The newly issued tickets are identical in appearance to the old ones.

The account services people were extremely helpful and apologetic for this snafu, blaming it on the ticket printer. If indeed the number of tickets affected are “in the thousands”, expect lots of anguish, confusion, long lines and a customer relations nightmare at Saturday’s season opener.

If you are a Sabres season ticket holder in the 100 level, best you call Sabres account services and see if your tickets are affected.

As for me? Our four season tickets are shared among seven different partners. Gratefully, I kept a spreadsheet listing who got what games, so tonight’s task will be to break up this new lot of tickets, bundle them according to partner and run the tickets around like crazy all weekend, starting with the ones who hold tickets to Saturday’s and Monday’s games. Hours of work lie ahead. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a Ticket Commish!

Pity the poor guy who sold off gobs of tickets via Stub Hub or Craigslist…Tickets gone and scattered to the wind. Customer relations nightmare? This could take a looooooooooong time to unwind.