Sen. Schumer attempts to stop inauguration scalpers on eBay, Craigslist

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York announced Thursday that eBay and Craigslist have promised to try to stop scalpers from making a mint by reselling tickets to President Barack Obama’s inauguration this weekend.

“eBay will enforce a policy not to allow these listings on their site, while Craigslist employees will monitor their site and remove these listings,” the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said in a statement. Schumer is a co-chair.

Good luck. A quick search on both sites minutes after Schumer's announcement landed in a reporter's inbox suggested that they faced an uphill slog to prevent enterprising scalpers from selling tickets meant to be free to the public and that even bear the warning, “Not for Sale.”

One Craigslist ad read, “We will accept no less than $600 per ticket...period. You can meet us at the Capitol building when we pick up tickets on Fri 1/14/2013 to verify authenticity.”

It was the same story on eBay.

A five-second search there turned up not just memorabilia from Obama’s 2009 inauguration, but tickets for Monday’s festivities. One ad started the bidding for two tickets at $400, or “buy it now” for $1,000.

“This year’s Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies are not for sale,” Schumer said in the statement. “eBay and Craigslist are doing the right thing in stopping the sale of scalped tickets to one of our nation’s most sacred events.” (Not for sale? At last check, the planners were soliciting donations of up to $1 million to pay for the celebration.)

“I hope that everyone who has an Inaugural ticket will think twice before posting these tickets on any ticket resale site,” the senator added. “This is a chance for people from all 50 states to celebrate our democracy, not for ticket scalpers to make a quick buck.”