I’m usually pretty easy going when it comes to life’s little details. Often when something comes along that doesn’t seem right or fair, if I understand the logic for its existence I will go along with it. Even if I don’t like it or agree with it. Particularly if there is still value. Such as a recent blog I wrote regarding a popular company’s change in pricing.
But this is different. I don’t understand the reason, so I’m frustrated. Frustrated with these guys that call themselves Ticketmaster.
People have complained before, saying that they should just includes their fees in the price of the ticket. Won’t happen. Can’t happen. It happens to be illegal in some states, including my home state of California. It would change the actual value of the ticket, and you are not allowed to sell a ticket for higher than the face value set by show promoters.
My issue isn’t with pricing structure, it’s with the excessive fees themselves.
Here is a true story and the latest source for my hatred of Ticketmaster.
About a week ago, my mother gave me money to purchase two tickets for her to a gospel show at Staples Center, since I live near there. She had done the research and there were only two ticket prices; $15 or $10.
For a couple of days, I couldn’t make it to the box office by the time they closed due to my work location and schedule. I tried to make it over the weekend when I was off work but the X-Games were taking place, making it all but impossible to even get through to the box office for a quick buy.
I decided to break out the Live Nation (an affiliate of Ticketmaster) app on my iphone to see if I could secure a pair of tickets, as I was unsure of the event’s popularity and if it was in any danger of selling out. What I found through Ticketmaster, both shocked and angered me.
A pair of $10 tickets would cost $41.50 as follows:
Ticket Price: $10 x 2 = $20
Convenience Charge: $6.55 x 2 = $13.10
Order Processing Fee: $5.90
TicketFast (tickets are emailed and you print them): $2.50
The $20 cost of the tickets have now more than doubled. What this means is that Ticketmaster – who can’t sing, act, perform, or tell jokes – is actually making more money than the people performing. And those performers are the sole reason for anyone to need a ticket in the first place. Who does Ticketmaster think they are?
Hey Ticketmaster, cut those fees so that we can use the price difference to buy ointment after you’ve violated us!
There is absolutely no need for these excessive fees. Notice that the Convenience Charge (convenient for who?) is 65.5% of the individual ticket price, while the Order Processing Fee is almost 30% of the total face value of the two tickets.
Here is Ticketmasters in-depth, very detailed explanation of the Convenience Charge and Order Processing fee:
Convenience Fee/Charge and Order Processing Fee
There is usually a convenience fee per-ticket and an order processing fee per-order that varies by event. To the extent we charge a convenience fee and/or an order processing fee, we and our clients typically set and share the fee.
Let me see if I got this straight. You spent the time “explaining” the fees by first telling us there is a convenience per-ticket fee and per-order fee, and that you typically share it with your clients.
Yeah, thanks for clearing that up. All you did was tell us the obvious. That it exist. No rationale on how you justify coming up with the amount of the fee. Not even an attempt to claim the necessity of the outrageous fee. Which to me indicates you know it’s wrong and you have no explanation other than greed.
As if that weren’t enough, they have the nerve to charge $2.50 for TicketFast. This one is equally ridiculous. Not only do you email me with the tickets (so no direct service), but then I have to use my own paper and ink to print the tickets. What am I paying you for?
To put this into perspective, they do offer free shipping if you want the tickets sent via USPS snail mail, which is not free to them with shipping cost and material. It cost them nothing to email me and they charge me $2.50. It cost them a nominal fee to send via snail mail but they offer that free. Am I the only one who finds that bass ackwards?
Also if I need to pay extra for you to email me tickets, what exactly is included in the Order Processing Fee? It would seem it cost me $6.80 to process my order and $2.50 to process my tickets. What’s the difference? I’m ordering tickets. In fact, If I use TicketFast I actually do more work to order my tickets online than Ticketmaster does. There are no physical tickets so you have processed absolutely nothing.There’s no need for the fees in the first place but it’s worse when the fees are repetitive.
My solution was actually a positive thing for me, but it caused me more frustration with Ticketmaster.
Refusing to pay Ticketmaster twice what I should, I made arrangements to make it to the Staples Center when there was no event. As I approached the gentleman at the box office, I was almost defensive. I asked him what the fees were in advance as the amount of the fees would determine which ticket price I would purchase. I figured there would be fees but they couldn’t be as excessive as Ticketmaster right?
He understood and proceeded to show me, in writing, something I could not believe. The total ticket price, including all fees, for a $15 ticket was $15.53.
Yes, you read that right! A $0.53 fee which includes better seats (these are the $15 tickets, as opposed to the $10 tickets for $41.50), actual physical tickets issued immediately, and all processing.
In a nutshell you could either pay $41.50 for a pair of $10 tickets, or pay $31.06 for a pair of $15 tickets. Tough choice right?
Do yourself a favor and first contact the box office directly of the venue of the show you’re planning to attend. Many of them have a location where you can go pick up tickets with very little to no fees. Many of them also have an option to pay over the phone and they will leave the tickets at Will Call if you’re unable to drive to the location prior to the day of the show. It may not always be available, but definitely worth a shot before bending over for so-called convenience.
As for Ticketmaster, we should boycott. Seriously. They’ve already been unsuccessfully sued, but if we boycott it will hurt them in a way a court never could. I don’t mind them charging small fees as they are a business. The key word being small. But they are out of control and must be stopped. As long as we let them get away with it, they will continue to rob the poor to line their pockets. Have you heard of Ticketmaster struggling during the recession?
The fees were previously generally around 50% of the ticket cost. In this case they are more than 100%. All because we’ve never fought back. I doubt they get any of that $0.53, but even if they do they would rather have had $21.50. Instead they get anywhere between nothing and two quarters and three pennies.
Screw you back Ticketmaster.
As Prince stated on George Lopez after announcing tickets are only $25 (fees included) for his 21 night stand at The Forum in Inglewood, Ca:
“$25 is what we used to pay for concerts. Then somebody called TicketMaster came in. Now we’re showing who the real ticket master is and putting the right price on it.”
Well said sir. Well said.