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June 23, 2008

How a $1 Ticket Becomes a $6.75 Ticket

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Internet,Uncategorized — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:17 am

A local Boston television program promoted an outdoor rib fest where chefs from around the country let you taste their version of barbeque ribs, chicken, etc. The price for admission to the event was $5 to $10 at the door (not including food), but discounts were offered at various locations and online.

In fact, if you bought tickets online, the price was only a dollar weekdays.

bbq

Note the absence of any fine print. However, when you go to buy the ticket, two surprises await.

*MOUSE PRINT: [click graphic for larger format]

bbq

Service fee of $3.00?  Shipping fee of $2.75?  A shipping fee when you print the tickets on your own printer? How could they advertise tickets for $1 when the actual price was nearly seven times that?

The CEO of the event responded to MOUSE PRINT* by saying, in part:

This is being fixed to $8 total for two online tix (everyone buys at least two). This was our arrangement per contract.

[Other places to buy tickets for less than $5 listed]

My company pays for the printing of the tickets and all costs associated with Will Call, which are significant for a 65 hour event.

My company does the best we can to give Phans as many options to get tickets as possible, especially since a lot would rather buy online for convenience and to avoid paying for gas.
 

While not particularly apologetic for charging a $2.75 shipping fee to print tickets on your own printer, the response Mouse Print* received subsequently from the actual ticketing service provider left no doubt that the home ticket printing charge was intentional:

Thank you for your e-mail. We can understand your concerns.

Ticket buyers who choose print at home tickets enjoy the convenience that this option offers and the easy and anytime-access to their tickets minimizing the potential loss of physical tickets by the carrier. The fee covers the technology and personnel required to make this option available at all. The fact that you use your own printer and paper is not factored in the $2.75 print at home fee.

Our fees reflect the percentage charges of the total amount we incur from the credit card company to charge/credit your account when you place the order. They also reflect the costs associated with providing online ticket sales. We cannot refund these fees if the show is cancelled or postponed as per the user agreement on the ticketing web page. — Musictoday, LLC

It appears that the ribs are not the only thing that could be burned at this event.

• • •

15 Comments

  1. Good one, Edg. If you read BETWEEN the lines of the excuses, it should read:
    “We like to try and maximize profits whenever possible, we have found that we’re
    more successful ripping off the consumer if we hide them in ‘fees’ rather than
    actually disclosing the full price, we thank you for the opportunity to allow us
    to rip you off” As long as these ticket agencies continue to enjoy monopolies,
    the consumer suffers. The really sad thing is, that’s just the price to get you
    in the door. Then you have to pony up inflated prices for the food and drink.

    Comment by Dave — June 23, 2008 @ 7:15 am
  2. It is insane that online vendors have the audacity of charging you for paying. If a supermarket would try to charge you for the convenience of paying for your groceries, the world would be too small.

    Comment by Jasper — June 23, 2008 @ 8:51 am
  3. Is this legal to charge shipping fees when there’s no shipping involved?

    Comment by Peter — June 23, 2008 @ 8:57 am
  4. I nominate this Mouse Print for the Best Double Speak of 2008.

    I’m surprised the event organizers didn’t charge you a handling fee to answer your question.

    Comment by Richard B. — June 23, 2008 @ 10:33 am
  5. “Thank you for your e-mail. We can understand your concerns.

    Ticket buyers who choose print at home tickets enjoy the convenience that this option offers and the easy and anytime-access to their tickets minimizing the potential loss of physical tickets by the carrier. The fee covers the technology and personnel required to make this option available at all. The fact that you use your own printer and paper is not factored in the $2.75 print at home fee.

    Our fees reflect the percentage charges of the total amount we incur from the credit card company to charge/credit your account when you place the order. They also reflect the costs associated with providing online ticket sales. We cannot refund these fees if the show is cancelled or postponed as per the user agreement on the ticketing web page. — Musictoday, LLC”

    TRANSLATION:

    Blah blah blah blah blah BS BS BS BS blah blah blah BS BS blah blah blah.

    Comment by Shawn — June 23, 2008 @ 1:23 pm
  6. This reminds me of the automotive repair business where they charge extra for the rags the mechanic used to clean his hands, the form the service manager used when writing up your your work order, the paper mats used to keep the interior of your car from getting dirty while the mechancic was working on the car and any thing else they could think of to pad the bill. Those extra fees used to be considered the cost of doing business and were built into the price. It is like promoting a free gift and then charging an exhorbitant fee for shipping.

    Comment by John P. — June 23, 2008 @ 3:52 pm
  7. after paying $16 in fees for a $50 theatre ticket last week, i realized that i would have rather had the entire ticket cost be $66 than to THINK i’m getting it for $50 and find out it’s an additional $16. why cant people just wrap all the fees into the price? am i the only one that would be happier knowing up front what my total would be?

    Comment by brandy — June 23, 2008 @ 4:58 pm
  8. The thing is, it would’ve been easy enough for them to say “Print tickets at home: $6.75″. Why didn’t they just do that and be done with it, instead of *lying* about the ticket price?

    What really irritates consumers isn’t the price; it’s the lies.

    Comment by Kyralessa — June 23, 2008 @ 5:34 pm
  9. What happened to the days when Econ 101 taught that the price of goods at retail includes “this, this, this, that, and this” all of which goes into the making, delivery, and all costs associated w/the product? They’re going to have to re-write Econ text books pretty soon…

    Comment by Ron Hall — June 23, 2008 @ 8:09 pm
  10. Wow! This sounds like buying a baseball ticket online. Yep. I won’t mention the company, but I was charged a $2.50 fee to print out my own ticket. And if I didn’t want to do that I could do ‘will call’ which was going to the ticket window and only the cardholder could pick up the tickets with proper ID. There were also TWO OTHER FEES included in the price of the ticket. $3.00 convenience charge along with a Ticket Fast charge of $2.50. These charges made this $14.00 baseball ticket $22.75!!!

    Comment by Alicia — June 24, 2008 @ 9:45 pm
  11. MLB does the same thing you can have the tickets shipped or you can print them at home for the same fee and they also put you though the 2 minute rush to enter all of your info as well.

    Comment by Joe B — June 25, 2008 @ 11:17 am
  12. The tragic thing about service fees buying baseball tickets is that tickets.com is owned by mlb and mlb bought them just to free themselves from the tyranny of ticketmaster’s gouging of their customers. Indeed, for the first year, buying baseball tickets from tickets.com was a completely fee-free experience. But then MLB got greedy, as they always do, and decided that it was better to squeeze their customers with fees but not have to share it with anybody else.

    Comment by J News — June 26, 2008 @ 10:42 am
  13. This whole things is so absurd that it would be funny if it were for the fact that so many ticketing entities are doing it.

    I recently wanted to buy some tickets to an event that are $55 at the door, but $50 online in advance. When I went to purchase them, they added a $3 service fee and explained that it was to cover the cost of the website, etc. At least they were honest and I still got a few dollars off.

    And last year I wanted to buy tickets to a concert at a stadium that has never charged for parking. When you buy their 4-pack for a great price of $20, they charge you $6 per person for parking…um, excuse me…there’s no parking fee there, and why do I have to pay PER PERSON rather than PER CAR? so suddenly the ticket price doubled. I was told it was a great concert and kinda wish I went, but I refused to go based on the principle of shady practices.

    Comment by RS — June 28, 2008 @ 12:28 pm
  14. “Our fees reflect the percentage charges of the total amount we incur from the credit card company to charge/credit your account when you place the order.”

    Last I checked it’s illegal for a company to blatantly pass off the credit card transaction fees to the customer… per Mastercard & Visa.

    Comment by SCO — August 7, 2008 @ 9:39 am
  15. The only real way to fight this type of crap by the ticket vendors and other retailers, don’t purchase their products. In addition, make sure to write them and let them know why you didn’t buy their products. As an individual they won’t care about one lost sale, but if enough people would stand up and refuse, they would take notice when revenues start to drop. Too many people just go along and let themselves be screwed. Stand up and let them know, complain directly to the businesses.

    Comment by jmlieder — September 18, 2008 @ 11:22 am

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