Ask Which? – Why am I charged a ticket booking fee?
Mattie asks: I understood the only way to avoid booking fees for concert tickets was to buy them direct from the box office with cash. However, the last time I bought tickets in this way, I was charged.
I recently went to a box office in Glasgow to purchase six tickets for a concert and was told that I would not avoid a booking fee, even if I paid with cash.
I was told that only a certain amount of tickets were allocated for sale without a booking fee and these had all gone. I wonder if you had heard of this and whether it is even legal?
Joanne Lezemore, Senior Solicitor for Which? Legal Service responds:
When you buy tickets, there is no legal obligation for any retailer to sell them at face value.
However, the Code of Practice set down by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers for ticket agents and retailers states that ‘for fairness, this [booking] charge should not be made to those paying by cash or cheque’. Frustratingly, that Code is not legally enforceable.
Official ticket sellers generally act on behalf of event promoters, venues or performers. The typical way that most ticket sellers and secondary websites earn money is through the additional service fees they charge customers.
By law, ticket sellers must give you clear, honest information about prices and tell you about any extra charges on top of the ticket’s face value, like booking fees.
But don’t rely on promotional advertising to give you the full price you’ll pay when you buy tickets. It is always worthwhile before buying tickets from any agent or retailer, to contact them first in order to find out the face value of the ticket and its final cost.
I hope this helps you; please be aware that the guidance given is limited by the information I have and should not be treated as a substitute for taking full legal advice
Have you ever been charged a booking fee when buying a ticket from the box office? Do you think the price you were charged was fair?
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