Kangaroos and kiwis and rams - Oh my!
We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto - In fact we’re international with reports from Australia and New Zealand. This week we ask: If you won a multi-million dollar class action, would you settle for a dollar off coupon? Just what is a $8.00 “email attachment” fee? Are you willing to pay 25% of the purchase price in ticket fees?
If you have a strong stomach, read on!
In an update on the lengthy nationwide class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster, attorney for both sides have locked horns over the legal costs of representing the plaintiffs for nearly a decade.
At issue is the settlement terms with Ticketmaster, who have offered to pay the $15 million owed to the lawyers, but giving the plaintiffs mere coupons of a nominal amount, applicable for future ticket purchases.
The class action was originally filed in 2003 in Los Angeles District Court alleging that Ticketmaster misrepresented the exact nature of the shipping and processing fees included in certain ticket sales.
The potential scope of the suit is staggering - It would entitle everyone who bought a ticket between Oct. 21, 1999, through Oct. 19, 2011 (!!!) to be compensated.
On the notion of not monetarily reimbursing ticket buyers, but giving them a coupon, plaintiff attorney Robert Chojnacki made a very salient point:
You should not force class members to do business with the defendant in order to receive a benefit...he class counsel gets $15 million in cash and class members get coupons.
Whether or not the long drawn out case, and its possible coupon yielding result, is a kangaroo court we cannot say, but we will continue to keep a close eye on the ultimate outcome.
Speaking of kangaroos, Sunrise, which is the Australian equivalent of the Today show, made the issue of unreasonably high per ticket fees and service charges part of their broadcast.
In the video the ticket fees are discussed by people on the street and all points of views are resoundingly negative on the subject ( are you surprised? ). A highlight in the video is the disgust at being charged an $8.00 e-mail fee per ticket, for the privilege of being sent an email attachment. Note that the normally reserved host balks at that and the other offenses perpetrated upon the halpless ticket buyer.
Still down under, we find Kiwi Bridget Jones in Auckland New Zealand and her outrage over ticket fees. Her post 'Hidden ticket fees not OK' is written on a very smart premise - She acknowledges the economics of live performances, but takes issue with the per ticket fee amounts not being presented up front during the purchase process and described in a misleading way. Jones writes:
To get good acts down here in New Zealand we need to face up to reality and pay the real cost, and I am completely OK with that. What I am less OK with are the hidden costs; those sneaky little fees that get tacked on the end, some of which I do not fully understand. Transaction fees. Handling fees. Delivery fees(?)
Jones ends with the same barbed point we see over and over again - unreasonable ticket fees will mean people just won't go to an event - end of story.
It might not sound like much and I am sure someone can explain it all away, but sometimes it's the little things that put people off, that stop them getting out and making the most of Auckland.
Our weekly tally of wins versus losses in the war on ticket fees has been devoid of victories as of late. It seems like we've gone weeks without a chalk marks in the win column. This week we have won a battle , albeit in an unlikely place - The NFL.
Professional football tickets are usually part of our disheartening loss report - but thanks to the St. Louis Rams, we have a small victory to cheer about.
Yesterday the Rams announced a new "flex plan" pricing that actually benefits ticket buyers. The plan gives fans can purchase tickets to three games of their choosing via a “flex” ticket package that allows fans to secure preferred seating at a 10-15 percent discount off the single-game pricing. The flex plans start at $120 for any three home games.
Best of all? The Ram's flex plan ticket prices range from $40 to $195 per ticket, per game, with a $1 processing fee per ticket added to each online order - Bravo!
One of our favorite sources of ticket industry news is event ticket search engine SeatGeek's blog, and their latest post 'The Definitive Guide to Concert Ticket Fees and How To Avoid Them' is a well written guide for all ticket buyers.
The post goes in-depth with a comprehensive list of all the major "value add" ( *ahem* ) resellers nationwide, as well as a map showing where ticket re-selling is and is not legal.
But what really caught our eye were the abhorrent ticket fees and their descriptions. Some of the atrocities include:
- 25% per ticket "connection fee" upon reaching the checkout page
- $15 for same day purchase fee
- $24.95 overnight delivery fee
- $30 for Saturday delivery fee
But those are not even the worst of the consumer hostility. We encourage you to read the rest of the post, if you dare!
This week's Fee Free Friday, and our years of experience, show just how put off the public is by unreasonably ticket fees. We want you to have a profitable event and make the ticket buyer so happy they'll want to share their buying experience with everyone they know. Out new 'To Fee or not to Fee' recommendations are available for you to help make that happen.
That's it for now, #FeeFreeFriday will be back next week with all the latest ticket fee news.
Until then, if you or someone you know has been charged an outlandishly high per ticket fees, we want to hear about it. Write to us, yell at us on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus or let us know in the comments below!