Celebrate Labor Day with 91% Service Fees!

Service fees, here! Get your 91% service fees.

Hurry! Deal ends at 7;59am on Wednesday, September 3!

My apologies to the dead horse I am about to beat. “Convenience fees” in the ticket vending industry are nothing new. But the below story hits home for me. Last September, a single mother of three children (all under the age of 13) complained to me about circus tickets being priced at more than $60 each. I told her that the circus offered tickets in lower price tiers and actually had a special for $12 seats on opening night. I informed this friend about a ticket outlet where she could purchase tickets in person for events held at Quicken Loans Arena. The next day, my friend told me that after all fees were tacked on, the $12 tickets cost “nearly double” than what I said they would. To a single mother of three on a fixed income, the difference between $48 and $90+ is a deal breaker when it comes to the ability to afford to take her family to the circus.
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Labor Day Weekend 2014 is bringing ticket sales to online outlets! Live Nation is advertising “no fees” for “select shows.” Anyone who has shopped for tickets on Livenation.com lately knows that not paying fees results in significant savings.

But the best deal of them all? $10 for select seats to see Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus at Quicken Loans Arena in October! How does one beat that? What a great bang for one’s entertainment buck!

Children of all ages: Step right up and get taken advantage of with the greatest service fees on earth!

An e-mail went out to ‘The Q Insider’ mailing list advertising $10 tickets. The contents of the email can be seen below:

circus-email
Notice: No mention of the $3.00 PER TICKET facility fee or an asterisk indicating that additional “convenience” fees will be added (in this case, $4.50 per ticket).

Follow along here: $3.00 + $4.50 = $7.50 of additional charges on what is advertised as a $10 ticket.

But that’s not all…A “handling fee” of $3.35 is added to the order! Divide $3.35 by two and we end up with an addition $1.67 per ticket. The only delivery method available for this offer is Flash Seats, a paperless ticketing option where seats are automatically transferred  (no human labor involved) to the purchaser’s account.

What is the actual cost of a pair of tickets to see the show? $38.35 for the pair, or $19.17 per ticket. Fees total to make the advertised ticket price 91% more expensive.

new-circus

Businesses need to make money. I get that. Web hosting costs money. Credit card processing costs money. Hiring employees to provide (lousy) customer service costs money. On top of that, ticket vendors need to turn a profit. But fees are insanely high. Especially with this “special” offer. Tickets should not cost 91% more than the advertised price.

In this case, the fees are FIXED. Each and every ticket cost an extra $7.50 (plus the “handling fee” per order). This is an online deal, meaning there is no variable fee at the venue box office or other outlets.

Lollapalooza promoter C3 Presents TRIED to start a trend of advertising an “all in” ticket pricing. The advertised price is what the consumer paid. Sure, one could view a breakdown of the price and see how much the face value was, what the ticket vendor’s cut was, how much the host city taxed per ticket, etc. Unfortunately, this trend has failed to catch on with other event promoters.

I’ll never understand why fees sometimes exceed a ticket’s face value… Why is a fee on a $60 ticket higher than a fee on a $35 ticket? Shouldn’t a “convenience” fee or processing fee be the same for all tickets? … What is the deal with ticket fees being applied even when purchasing direct from the box office? Earlier this year, I went to a venue operated by Live Nation and paid a $6 per ticket fee at the venue’s box office window!

I will certainly never understand how an event promoter can get away with charging $10 for a ticket with additional fees of $7.50 per ticket, plus a handling charge (for an automated transfer, no less.)

Unfortunately, consumers ultimately vote with their hard earned dollars. As long as customers purchase tickets, vendors will continue to pile on the fees.

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