Fee Free Friday - Only The Strong Survive
The war on unreasonable per ticket fees boiled over in New Jersey this week when the state assembly panel approved bill A-2258. We also have some heartbreaking fan testimonials about the high cost of tickets and reports of a $30.00 “convenience” fee! Only the strong can survive reading this week's #FFF - Are you up for it?
2258 is great!
This week national news headlines echoed the Fee Free Fridays mantra - “That fee is too darn high!” - when the state Assembly Panel approved a bill that would restructure New Jersey’s ticket sale law.
The bill, known as A-2258, is a "do over" for legislation passed by the state of New Jersey in 2008 that made a mess of consumer protection practices in favor of spurring the growth of online ticket sales. The new corrective measure will completely restructure established law with an emphasis on addressing event ticket markup and undisclosed high per ticket fees.
In addition to regulating fees, the bill mandates venues be transparent in the disclosure of the number of tickets available as well as requiring the consumer be allowed to transfer purchases should they not be able to attend the event.
The bill's sponsor Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto spoke directly to the heart of the matter when he described the bill:
We’ve seen too many consumers simply hoping to see their favorite band, comedian or a great show suffer at the hands of unfair box office practices designed to ensure the most profit for ticket retailers. New Jersey is home to many great showplace facilities that create jobs and economic development for their communities. We should make it as fair and cost-effective as possible for residents to buy tickets and be able to attend and enjoy these facilities.
A-2258 has some teeth too. Should the approved measure become state law, a violation will be considered "a crime of the fourth degree". In New Jersey a crime in the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of $10,000 or both.
State legislation is gaining momentum every day and we genuinely hope more states come to the aid of the consumer by passing laws such as A-2258. It is in the best interest of the ticket industry to side with consumer. We are not the only ones who feel this way...
Earlier this week president of the Fan Freedom Project Jon Potter published his 'Taking Back Our Tickets' article in the Huffington Post. The eloquent OpEd criticized the ticket industry, urging action:
The ideas are there. What's missing is leadership from the ticket industry. Absent a coordinated effort by all players in the ticket marketplace. The ticket industry has a choice. It can stand with fans and help implement these recommendations or it can sit on the sidelines as it has for years, raking in dollars off the misery of fans.
We strongly encourage you to read Mr. Potter's written opinion and cite it as just one of the growing choir of influential voices speaking out against outrageous face value markups and unreasonable ticket fees.
2NE1 fan speaks up
Every week, as we parse through the litany of high ticket fee horror stories, we always seem to find a quiet voice amongst all the yelling and screaming. A fan of the South Korean pop music group 2NE1 wrote a heartfelt paragraph on his Tumblr that embodies how high per ticket fees make fans feel.
The devoted fan wrote of the high cost of seeing 2NE1 perform at the Prudential Center in New Jersey:
The ticket prices for 2NE1’s New Jersey concert was just revealed and I seriously hope that there is a typo on some of the prices. The most expensive ticket is $300! Seriously? Who charges $300 for a concert? How the hell am I going to save up $300 in 2 days? But this time I can see myself up in the 2nd floor and all because of the ticket prices.
There are tens of thousands of these types of soliloquies posted everyday, each as gut wrenching as the next. Sadly, the tiny reach of personal blogs by individual fans are overlooked by the ticket industry. We feel compelled to show how high ticket fees and markup are detrimental to our industry as a whole - unhappy fans priced out of seeing their favorite entertainers does not make long-term economic sense. Think before you add that fee!
The $30.00 “convenience” fee
Finally, this week's Fee Free Friday quick hit list from outside the confines of the Garden state...
Amateur and professional sound recording equipment forum 'The Gear Page' just started a thread aptly titled "Concert Ticket Rants" with tales of high per ticket fees. Some highlights:
- "I just tried to pick up tickets to Justin Bieber for my wife and daughters...an $80 face value ticket is now going for $300..."
- "...the kicker is that the brokers are also charging a $40-60 fee on top of the inflated ticket price."
- I went through this crap when Paul McCartney was playing...the "Convenience Fees" would have added $135.00 to the price of tickets.
Consumer protection hero Stephanie Zimmermann aka "The Fixer" updated a victory achieved from May. In the update, Zimerman follows up on a Springsteen fan Dante Bacani, who said they paid $198.30 for tickets with $30.00 of that being “convenience” fee, describing the entire ticket purchase process "a complete insult"
The Fixer took Bacani's dissatisfaction to heart and the results are truly a triumph. She got the fees waived and the attention of the promoting company's executive.
Proof fans talk among themselves about high ticket fees, then help each other avoid them advice, is this Facebook comment thread for tickets to Global Dance Festival Midwest:
"What's the ticket price at the door?"
"$35 presale, 45$ day of."
"Buy it from electric void the ridiculous $15 convenience charge."
You do realize there is an alternative to this kind of consumer disparagement, right?
Fans love venues that don't charge fees or at least reasonable ones. We urge you to use temperance when applying per ticket fees and use them to cover your costs.
We at ThunderTix do not charge per ticket fees for selling tickets online or at the box office. We encourage you to pass along that savings to the consumer and show them the long term vision of your business is tied directly to their satisfaction. Your patrons will love that you don’t add fees. It’s that simple. Lower ticket costs through no added fees translate into higher sales and greater patron satisfaction.
Fee Free Friday will be back next week with more reports from chambers of power, the long lines at venue box offices and from anywhere else we find ticket buyers cry out in fee laden anguish. Until then, be sure to take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!