Tuesday, January 13, 2004


I've just called Ticketmaster to buy a ticket for the Washington Capitals Vs Toronto Maple Leafs on January 21st. I need a hockey fix or two during my stint in DC.

I can't be sure that work commitments will allow me to get to the game so I went for the cheapest ticket available up in the gods at $10, thinking that if I can't go it'll be no great loss.

To the face value of the ticket, Ticketmaster added an order processing fee of a few dollars.

Then they added a Convenience Charge, a euphemism if ever there was. I couldn't quite work out how they justified this fee so I enquired further. Apparently, " This fee covers costs that allow Ticketmaster to provide the widest range of available tickets while giving you multiple ways to purchase." What does that mean, exactly? It would seem to translate as "this fee enables us to make even bigger profits by passing on the core costs of running our business on to you, even though we've hit you with one surcharge already to book the ticket in the first place."

Then -- explain this Ticketmaster -- I was charged a third fee because I'm ordering the ticket from outside the US. I'm picking up the tickets from the box office so there's no postage involved. I'm paying by Visa so it should make no difference where I'm ordering from. I'm paying for the cost of the transatlantic telephone call. So how can Ticketmaster possibly justify this? I book hotels, hire cars and broadcast facilities overseas every day. I've never been charged extra before for the privilege.

The total cost, after the 3 fees were added, was $19.10. That represents a booking fee of a staggering 91% of the face value of the ticket.

You can be damn sure I'll be going to the game now.


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