Back to school - Back to ticket fees
Will outrageous ticket fees and ticket service charges put a damper on the exuberance of youth as they return to school? Why would happy-go-lucky 20-something write a solemn tale about going to a concert? Hint: Fees. And just what the heck is a $81.00 “facility charge”? Questions like these must mean it’s time for another edition of Fee Free Friday!
Who will get a failing grade and who will be the teacher’s pet? Read on to find out!
Teacher’s Pet - The Great Allentown Fair
The Great Allentown Fair starts today with tens of thousands returning once again to enjoy the fun, food and live entertainment. The fair is one of the oldest fairs in the United States, and one of the largest in the state of Pennsylvania. It encompasses a very large area and includes several venues, each with different entertainment types.
Of note is the news that a ticket fee has been added to admission, but it is not what you expect (at least not from a Fee Free Friday post). Event organizers have added a $1 fee for a very good reason. John J. Moser of The Morning Call explains:
The Allentown Fair has started charging a $1-per-ticket grandstand concert venue restoration fee on all tickets to headline shows, starting Tuesday. The event president and chief executive officer said the fee was added reluctantly, and added "The fact is that we had no alternative"
Moser also says that regular ticket prices are finely calculated for artists' benefit and often leave little profit for the fair. Noting that the $1 addition is minimal and goes directly into an account only for renovation.
This is one of the few example of when ticket buyers have absolutely no qualms about ticket service charges. The reason for the fee is being clearly conveyed and the end result will be a better event in the future. We would go so far as to say that the fee should have been higher(!) to amortize the restorations cost more quickly.
We applaud the Great Allentown Fair for “getting it right” and we hope the event continues its transparent practice of applying reasonable fees to tickets. Thunderous applause wanes as we return to the misery unjustifiable ticket fees bring...
No Wonder Young People Feel So Old
Music blogger Becca Jones-Starr wrote earlier in the week of her experience going to see The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California. One would expect a person in their 20s to write with glee about how fun it was, but cold reality of of ticket fees and services charges poison the party right way.
This isn't even the worst part with exorbitant concert fees. "Convenience" charges are getting to the point where they cost half the price of the ticket...and you can't escape them. And they charge this fee PER ticket. Some argue that you can just go to the venue and avoid having to go through Ticketmaster to get your tickets. First of all, to the best of my knowledge, that is untrue. Some venues are the exception and you can go to the box office to buy them. But that seems to be rare these days. Not to mention, who does that anymore?
Becca knows that events and music venues are for profit endeavors, but her tolerance level was exceeded.
I know that Ticketmaster is providing a service, but the fees are still too much. They are also tacking on other fees which is making it even more questionable and ridiculous. Check these out: 'Convenience charge tax', 'Facility charge' and 'Order processing fee.' If there's going to be this charge, why not blanket it all under what we assume is the 'convenience fee.'
It is painful to read someone so young write so somberly about a ruined experience.
There's been a few times where I couldn't quite afford a concert ticket because the convenience charge was too much. And if you want the tickets mailed to you...you gotta pay for that as well. Printing them is free, but it used to be the other way around. Mailing or printing should not cost anything. These days I have resorted to printing tickets to save money. I consider the actual concert ticket as the moment important memento for a concert...No wonder young people feel so old
Becca Jones-Starr blog is yet another example of how high per-ticket fees crush the exuberance of youth. The venue and the ticket vendor were spared any real brunt of Becca's eloquent writing, she just seemed too disappointed to write with an angry fervor.
While one music blogger may be too polite to call the ticket fee misery merchant stop task, we are glad to poke the hornet’s nests with a stick. :D
Wall of Woe - Back to School Edition
This week wall ain’t pretty, and some of the language used was so profane we had to redact it, but that won’t prevent the message to all venues and events from coming through. Tumblr user ‘Daydream Believer’ has just had it with ticket fees and exorbitant face value markups.
"To all the people/companies who buy sections of seats at a concert only to turn around and sell them for 4x times the price…F*** YOU. [How is a]$450 per ticket is a “reasonable” seat?!?! wtf. $2000+ dollars for a ticket that goes for $109…. omg. I can't even. and stubhub just f**** you over again, taking 10% for service fee so thats another 90 bucks for what? Your annoying site that didn’t even work. Oh my friggin bulls*** I just can't. Thank you for taking what should be an awesome experience and turning it into me needing a friggin loan to buy tickets. Once again f*** you."
‘Daydream Believer’ lost her belief that she could attend events for a reasonable price. The choir of the disenfranchised continues :
"Ticket - 81.00 Facility charge - 4.00 Conv Charge - 12.70 Processing fee - 5.95 -Total $103.65 $23.65 per ticket in charges (23%) Shameful"
"They doubled the price of my tickets (actually 191.3%). Did not send the tickets, then charged over $42.00 in extraneous fees. Plus, we did not get the tickets we ordered when we clicked the Des Moines Civic Center seating choice. The interface between DM CC and ticket master is all TM's fault I found out after 40 minutes on the phone!"
"$59.50 for a ticket to see New Order + $14.50 for service fees. $74 dollars to see New Order."
Way too many young people getting kicked in the teeth by ticket service charges this week. It doesn't have to be like this.
We know that running a business isn’t easy, but there is no need to pass undue burden onto your customers in the form of ticket fees and service charges. In fact, we have written extensively on when you should and should not charge fees. We encourage all to take the time to read our new ‘Sell Tickets Online. No Fees.’ guideline and decide if per-tickets fee are the right thing to do (or not). Remember - Happy ticket buyers will become your venue’s best sales people, so why not make use of that?
That’s it for this for this week. #FeeFreeFriday will return with all new triumphs, all new horrors next week. Until then if you have been kicked in the teeth by unreasonable ticket fees, be sure to take a look at all the features we have to offer and sign up for a free trial today!