A pox on Ticketmaster

I could have used Ticketmaster (via the web) twice over the last several months to buy tickets for local shows. Both times, I balked at the fees they piled on – for a show at the Aladdin last week, they’d have charged me an extra 4.75 per ticket for a ‘handling fee’ plus tossed in an extra 4 dollar charge to make the tickets will call (I took my chances at the box office right before the show instead.) The other time, we ended up bailing on the show entirely, so the venue lost our money (even though we could have gotten through at the gate.)

I’ve been grumbling about Ticketmaster and their inflated fees for years – but was stunned nevertheless at the height of their stupidity yesterday morning. A friend wanted to see a show in Seattle. Tickets went on sale yesterday at 10 am, he was able to get through to get a ticket, was willing to pay the handling fee – but hit a road block when it came time to cough up an extra 13 dollar charge to mail him the ticket (on top of the handling fee.) Will call? Wasn’t even an option, unless you were purchasing the ticket from out of the country. So after adding up transportation costs, time off work, etc – he decided to take a pass, even though he was a sure thing when he first logged on.

I know that many local places that used to be Ticketmaster outlets have switched over to Tickets West. And I can see that Tickets West is starting to sell tickets for shows at Dantes, Doug Fir, and the Roseland, for instance (and they’re not tacking on fees for mailing or will call, from a quick check.) I’d strongly encourage other local vendors to check out the fees TM is gouging your customers for (I’m betting you’re not getting a cut.) And then make the switch over to Tickets West, please.

It’ll pay off for you in increased advance sales and customers with a few extra bucks in their pocket to spend on beer, for starters. Win-win all around!

I know this: I’ll never use Ticketmaster’s web site again. Even after I win Powerball. And I’m betting I’m not the only one with a TM boycott policy…am I?

5 Comments so far

  1. Jonpaul (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 10:42 am

    Ticketmaster is pure evil. I have a friend in Salem who just paid $28.75 for $15.00 ticket. That is almost 100% mark-up.

    Maybe after the we’re done going after the payday loan people, we should go after ticketmaster.


  2. Daryle (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

    I agree! I’ve been trying to boycott TM for years, but I’ve had to suck it up a couple of times because I really wanted to go to a show. I will say that Tickets West is better, but not by much. I just got 2 tickets for a show at Roseland (through Tickets West) that had a $5 convenience fee tacked on per ticket. I purchased these at Safeway, and if I purchased them online there would be an additional $3.50 handling fee. What can we do?


  3. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 9:17 am

    I don’t like it because there’s no way around the fee-if I buy it online I’m subject to a charge (even though it’s better for them since I didn’t have to go through an employee, right?) but if I go to GI Joe’s or whatever, there’s still a charge for that too. and I’m sure at the venue there’s a charge for not going online and buying it there or something.

    I have bailed on shows, and when possible I have told someone why (the artist or their management or someone else who might actually listen and care and be able to pass it on). I wish it helped, but if Pearl Jam can’t bring them down, I sure don’t think they’ll listen to me.


  4. dieselboi (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    service charges suck, but i have accepted it as a price to pay to go to the show. i hate it. what’s crazy is it’s almost the same if you’re paying to see the rolling stones for $150.00 per ticket or go see a small band for $7 a ticket. my suggestion – if you can handle the stress – don’t buy your ticket from the big guys. go to the show that evening and see if there is anything left. usually for places like Dante’s or Doug Fir or Berbati’s, they will only charge the ticket price at the door and not the outragious fees. just a thought.


  5. Divebargirl (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

    Actually Dante’s does still charge the ‘convenience fee’ when buying tickets at the door…and that is whether you go to Dante’s a week before and buy them for next weeks show, or buy them the night of. They’re the only ones I’ve noticed that does that (and they’re really irritating anyhow) but most other places end up charging a few bucks more for buying at the door which ends up being almost as much as the advance ‘conveneince fee.’ It’s all nuts.



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