Back in 2011, I shared a Ticketmaster news story on the then “PiercingMetal Musings” blog and offered up my own thoughts about the circumstances HERE as it outlined that the mighty Ticketmaster was going to be refunding some of the fees it had hit us with over the years. Now the time has come for the settlement of that case which amounted to a $400 million dollar class action lawsuit over the often ridiculously high fees. The settlement comes in the form of vouchers and some discount codes that you can use to enjoy some shows for free.
Of course you realize that these shows are not completely free since you have already paid for them in a sense based on the high fees. Still it’s pretty cool that a settlement is making good. Score one for the little guy right? The suit affects about 50 million people who bought tickets on Ticketmaster between October 21, 1999 and February 27, 2013 and paid the company’s ridiculous overcharges. Emails alerting members of the class started going out last month under the subject, “Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster Class Action Settlement – Notice Regarding Discount and Ticket Codes,”. Make sure you check your respective email accounts for that notice AND also check your spam folder since you never know if it was directed there by your provider. I should also let you know to make sure that you weren’t using an older email address that you forgot about for some reason. I know that I used my ancient AOL address for Ticketmaster before moving to Hotmail and now the personal Gmail.com account. I guess it’s the same exact account that I always had but I am not sure since it doesn’t show me any history of purchases. More on that later though so back to business. In case you missed the email somehow, more about the settlement can be learned at THIS LINK. Continue reading Attention Legions: Ticketmaster Vouchers Await Thee….Maybe 🙂→
While I realize that this is not the usual kind of thing that falls under my category of “Heavy Metal Holy Sh*t” on the Official PiercingMetal Blog, I had to say that this recent Yahoo! Finance News Report really spun me for a loop. I’ll paste in a link after the logo but if I read this whole thing correctly, apparently Ticketbastard, I mean Ticketmaster will be offering those concert goers who used their service over the last twelve years a small stipend from the fees that they were charging them. That was really interesting to learn about.
Let’s face it, small stipend or minimal refund notwithstanding this is pretty cool news because concert tickets are often unaffordable enough without the extra fees that Ticketmaster lumps on top of them. There is a fee for printing tickets on your own printer at home these days I am told. I copied the grouping of fees from their Wikipedia page for easier clarification. Read on.
Service Charge: This is Ticketmaster’s charge for the general service they provide and maintain. The amount paid may depend upon the method of payment (by phone, online, or in person). Building Facility Charge: This is determined by the venue, and not Ticketmaster. Processing Charge: This is Ticketmaster’s charge for processing your order and making the tickets available to you. This is usually not a per ticket charge, but rather a per order charge. Shipping Charge, E-Ticket Convenience Charge, or Will Call Charge: Ticketmaster charges a fee for ticket delivery, whether the tickets are mailed to the customer, printed out at home, or collected from the venue. The charge for printing out the ticket at home is often higher than the fee to have the ticket physically mailed to you. In other sectors, such as airline ticketing, companies usually do not charge (and in some cases even offer a discount), for electronic ticketing. Economist Emily Oster of the Chicago Booth School of Business suggests that this reflects the lack of competition in the industry, with customers willing to pay more for the convenience of obtaining the tickets immediately due to a lack of alternate options.
My Thoughts On The Fees? Here is my take on the batch of them….
Service Charge: I totally understand the service charge fee since its now widely known that Ticketmaster is not taking a piece of the ticket price from each ticket and instead the $100 goes right to the promoters and eventually the artists. That hardly seems fair because if they are willing to sell these artists tickets and are the only game in town, then the artists should toss back a small percentage of the ticket price to the Ticketmaster brand. I can only imagine what the processing fees for the super high priced Simon and Garfunkel tour or Barbara Streisand’s un-retirement show cost those fans. Stuff like that makes me glad that Hard Rock and Metal shows only go “so” high. This is generally per ticket if I am not mistaken. I’ve been buying my tickets direct at the venues these days when I needed them to bypass any additional loss so there you go. The consumer should really not be charged this one since there is a processing fee as well but I digress.
The Building Facility Charge should not exist as something the concert goer needs to pay. Hey venue owners, be happy that we are willing to spend our hard earned dollars on over priced concessions and merchandise. Leave the tickets alone.
The Processing Fee I realize is technically the transaction fee. If you want this done, it costs you this much and its per ticket whether we like it or not. Five tickets mean five transactions and hence five fees. Not fun when you buy tickets for the group and your friends hand you the $20 ticket price as your payback. Come on, tell me this has not happened to you at least once in your life.
Shipping Charges? There is generally not a way around them and these days you seem to be locked into a pricy method of receiving your physical tickets. You should not be charged when you choose an e-ticket or to print at home though. That is just bullshit if you ask me.
Will the refund matter at all?
Since it’s only going to be around $1.50 per ticket I really don’t think that it is going to matter in the end but it is nice that they are willing to deal with this. It’s a shame that it took a lawsuit to make it happen of course but oh well. I seldom cry for big corporations these days. I guess if you buy a lot of tickets this will be sweet but if you buy one or two a year maybe not so much. They said that this will not start to be paid out until April of 2012 and who knows exactly how they are going to track down who merits this refund from the past twelve years. I know that I used a few different credit cards over the years via their online service but most of them are gone by now and I only use one. Refunding an inactive credit card hardly seems a good way to go. I will remain skeptical until I see it actually happening. Let’s see what happens right?
Now its time to get back to the Metal reports & photos and leave the business analysis to those CNN and Bloomberg kind of sites. This was just too important not to speak a little bit about and I am walking around with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management after all. It’s nice to access that thinking a little more often than I get to every now and again.