/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Are ticketing companies playing fair on ticket fees?

Ticket fees

Today we launch a new campaign calling on the ticketing industry to play fair on ticket fees. Are you ticked off by extra fees when you buy tickets for gigs and shows online?

I love living in London because there are so many different shows, gigs and events to go to. However, I almost always find the process of buying tickets unnecessarily frustrating.

As any fellow music fan or culture-vulture will know, online ticketing companies can add hefty ‘booking’ or ‘delivery’ fees on top of the price of a ticket. Well, our research has found examples of compulsory fees adding up to a third to the face value of the ticket.

For example, a £25 ticket for Jimmy Carr’s Wolverhampton gig could set you back an extra £9.50 in compulsory fees – a massive 38% of the ticket’s face value.

To add insult to injury, some companies don’t show all of these fees upfront. Often it’s not until you’ve seen the ‘face value’ price of the show, selected your tickets and entered the ‘security code’ on the payment page that you’re told you’ll have to pay extra to receive your tickets. Sometimes you’ll even have to pay to collect them from the box office or print them at home yourself.

Sign our ticket fees petition

Over the next few months, we’ll be putting pressure on companies to end hidden fees. And we need your help, so if you want ticket companies to play fair, sign our petition.

We want to see all extra compulsory charges shown upfront when you first see the price of the ticket. Firms should be doing this anyway to comply with Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) rules on how prices should be displayed. We also think hidden fees are unlawful under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

With eight in 10 event-goers agreeing that the level of fees are often a rip off, our campaign calls on ticketing companies to justify their fees and set them at a fair level. I personally think ticketing companies have a job to persuade fans that their fees are fair and that they’re not just taking advantage of an uncompetitive market.

What ticks you off most about ticket fees? What are highest examples of ticket fees you’ve come across?


Normally I refuse to pay these sort of charges. Wait 1-2 years and buy the DVD from Amazon/Play.com for around £7.

But when it’s a band I really like (and have a bit of a crush on, like One Direction) I do pay these stupid extra fees. Hate myself for it. But just can’t bare to wait for the DVD to come out.

Ian01 says:
17 December 2013

Additionally, from cinema and theatre to football and rugby, the vast majority of ticket booking lines are on expensive 0844 or 0871 telephone numbers.

There are regular reports in the media of people running up telephone bills of £50 or more when attempting to buy tickets for a very popular event.

Dibdob says:
17 December 2013

Ticketmaster charge you £1.50 to print out your own tickets! And I’m glad to see some comedians, such as Dave Gorman, Sarah Millican and Jason Manford, refusing to hold gigs at ATG venues because the booking fees are so high.

Jodie says:
20 December 2013

They charge you an administration fee for each ticket – but when you’re buying 2 or more tickets in one automated transaction, I cannot understand how they can justify “administration” fees. We are entering all the details ourselves, selecting and printing our own tickets so what administration are they actually carrying out. The cost is unacceptable.

Stephen says:
20 December 2013

The story I was given, when avoiding this fee (by collecting my tickets in person) at a small local venue, was that performers or their management regularly demand 80% of the ticket price from the organisers.

In retaliation, organisers feel obliged to charge these extra fees to boost their own income from the event.

I do not know what credence to give to this tale, but it might be worth investigating?

Well I know that Film Distributors charge cinemas >40% of the seat cost , thus the high cost of food, so wouldnt be surprised at even higher % for one off performances.

Thanks for the comments guys, we now have 34,000 petition signatures: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/ticket-fees/ But we need more to up the pressure!

MsSupertech says:
22 December 2013

Any cost which is unavoidable is effectively part of the ticket price in my opinion. Therefore it should not be allowed to show any unavoidable charge as a separate item.
‘Booking fees’ should only be allowed to be levied per transaction, not per ticket and there should be a limit on the percentage of the transaction that can be charged.
If I’m printing my own ticket or collecting it from an automated machine I expect a discount – not a surcharge.
A quick mention for the ‘Good Guys’… A number of cricket grounds offer transparent ticket prices with no hidden extras. If they can do it, why can’t others?

Adrian Mantle says:
23 December 2013

When recently purchasing a £10 ticket online from the Bristol Hippodrome I was asked to pay a total of £5.90 fees and charges. 59%!!! Is this a record?

Tickets are the price you pay for the provision of a service. It is a simple transaction. Additional fees are merely a parasitical con which should be fought at every stage. If you went to a supermarket and bought 1kg of poatatoes for £1 you would expect to pay £1 not £1 plus fees.

You can argue that the cost of administering the transaction needs to be factored in. I accept this but it should be on the ticket price (so you can make a decision as to whether to buy or not) NOT an additional fee. You cannot buy tickets in an alternative way thereby negating or reducing the fees, thus the ‘true’ price of the ticket is the ticket price plus fees. Lets have some honesty!

A transaction charge fair enough but 1 per ticket for the same event, date and time is silly it does not take double, triple or quadruple the time on the phone to book for 1, 2, 3 or 4 tickets and it is only 1 transaction on the internet.. Charges for paying by credit card per ticket or as a percentage of the total are unfair, it costs what it costs to process the payment but how many tickets you have bought is irrelevant to that cost.

MsSupertech says:
11 January 2014

I just came across a new ticketing rip-off wheeze…
I was looking at the Ticket Factory and my final bill was (would have been..) bumped up by something described as a ‘Fulfillment Fee’ as well as and Admin fee…. What on earth..?
At least it was only ‘per transaction’ rather then per ticket but didn’t make the purchase.