We’re giving ticketing companies one month’s notice to justify their practices or we’ll take our evidence to the Competition and Markets Authority. Do you think the industry is working well for ticket buyers?
Ticket fees are nothing new. In fact, at the first Ticketmaster event – an Electric Light Orchestra concert in January 1977 – fans paid a service charge of 25 cents on top of their $6.50 tickets. But they remain a big bugbear for entertainment lovers.
Six months since we launched our Play Fair on Ticket Fees campaign, and with almost 50,000 of you having pledged your support, the majority of ticket companies are now displaying all their additional compulsory charges upfront. This is great news and should make it easier to compare the cost of tickets between different sellers.
But we’re concerned that the ticketing market still isn’t working well for ticket buyers. Eight in 10 people think compulsory fees are a rip-off, and we know that the market is dominated by a handful of large players.
Fees of all shapes and sizes
In our latest investigation, we went through a total of 85 online bookings and found that compulsory fees added 18% on average to face value ticket prices. But in some cases, compulsory fees increased the ticket price by more than a third.
At the time of our research, the highest individual fee came from Stargeen, who charged 37% on top of the face value ticket price of £25 to see Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre in July 2014. However, in response to our campaign, Stargreen has now added an option to collect theatre tickets from the box office for free. Result!
Some companies didn’t offer a free delivery option for any of the events we looked at, while others charged fans up to £3 for collecting tickets at the box office. Four companies even charged fans up to £2.50 to print their tickets off at home.
Several ticketing companies have told us that they don’t have control over all the factors that influence the level of fees, but they’re ultimately responsible for the prices they charge. This is why we’re giving them one month to justify these practices.
Do you get ticked off by ticket fees? What improvements would you like to see in the ticketing industry?