/ Money, Travel & Leisure

What’s the highest show ticket fee you’ve paid?

Concert celebration

In a win for the 37,000 of you who have supported our Ticket Fees campaign, seven major ticketing companies have agreed to show all compulsory fees upfront. What’s the largest ticket fee you’ve had to pay?

I regularly get frustrated when buying tickets online. Often it seems like it’s not until you’ve selected your tickets and begin entering your details that you’re presented with a nasty little surprise of a £3 fee to print off your tickets at home, or up to a £6.50 compulsory charge for delivery.

And I’m not alone. Kevin, who signed our Play Fair on Ticket Fees petition, was absolutely right when he said:

‘How often does the final price exceed the advertised price? […] All fees should be included in clearly visible prices FROM THE START.’

Show’s over for hidden ticket fees

When we launched our campaign in December, we named and shamed seven companies as having hidden fees – including some of the biggies, like Ticketmaster, See Tickets and ATG.

Well, thanks to your support for our campaign, all seven companies have agreed to show all compulsory fees upfront. The Advertising Standards Authority has also been working behind the scenes to ensure companies stick to their advertising rules.

See Tickets has already put their fees upfront, TicketSoup has said it will make changes this week, and ATG are most of the way there and have promised to make further changes by March. We’ll continue to engage with the remaining four – Ticketmaster, TicketWeb, BHLive and Stargreen – to ensure they set out a timetable to bring these changes in swiftly.

Set fees at a fair level

But that’s not it for our campaign, oh no! Eight in ten of you have told us you think the level of extra fees are a rip-off.

Tim, who signed our petition, worked out that he had paid an incredible £480 in extra fees for the 70 concerts he went to last year.

So we’re now challenging ticket companies to go even further – we want them to justify their fees and set them at a fair level. We don’t think the high fees many companies charge are fair – for example, we think delivery fees should only be used to recoup costs associated with delivery. We also don’t think you’re given a clear explanation of what these fees are for, nor where the money goes.

Join us in challenging the ticketing industry to set their fees at a fair level, and get your friends and family to do the same. I’d also be really interested in hearing the ticket fees you’ve had to pay for gigs and concerts. Do you think it’s fair to pay to print off your own tickets or to pick them up from the box office?


One fee that many are not upfront about is the cost of calling their 0844 or 0871 booking line. Stating BT’s call price is of no use to those who use other providers or who use a mobile phone.

Those 0844 and 0871 calls usually incur a Service Charge of 7p or 13p/min hidden within the overall call price. It’s time these companies were more honest and upfront about this hidden fee.

Andy says:
29 January 2014

Booked online last night to see “A Perfect Murder” at Brighton Theatre Royal through ATG. Seats were £19.50 each. Extras, Transaction Fee £2.85 and “Per Ticket Fee” whatever that is, £5.80! Total £8.65. That’s in excess of 22% of the original ticket price. Daylight robbery, especially when these figures are hidden until the last few clicks.

Vote with your feet when it comes to unreasonable ticket fees. It is hard to pass up a chance to go to a show or performance that you would really like to see. But as with many other areas of commercial concerns taking advantage there is one sure-fire way of making the business sit up and take notice and that is to deprive them of your custom. In some cases it is possible to go direct to a theatre or venue to buy your tickets but when this option is unavailable then hitting the profits is how consumers can force the business to change. An example is the insurance premium arena where insurers habitually try to charge existing customers more than new customers. If most or all of the existing customers go elsewhere then they all become new customers and the business has to change its pricing policy!

Ticketweb wanted me to pay £8.15 for a £5 ticket (to print to my own printer!) That is a 63% mark-up. Can anyone beat that?

By the way, I didn’t buy the ticket off them. Instead, I asked one of the musicians (who sits just a few desks away from me at work during the daytime) to get me a ticket without the fees, and Ticketweb lost out due to their greed.

clive mils says:
18 July 2014

We have just enjoyed a Robbie Williams concert at the O2. I got my tickets via Ticketmaster ‘Get Me In’. I booked in December 2013 for the July O2 concert. I paid in all £530 for the two tickets – which I have to say a good seat. However when the tickets arrived on time and without to much fuss(although we had to wait in all day for the courier) to my horror the £250 tickets (each) had a face value of £80 plus £1, a mark up of over 300%. Is this fair I ask myself? We loved the show and it was a special occasion – but were we ripped off?

Clive Mills

James says:
1 December 2014

Bought two tickets from Eventim – £110 each that with booking/postal fees came to £228.50.

The event was cancelled by the promoter and I received a refund of £220, a loss of £28.50. Eventim’s T&C stated that they are only obliged to return the ticket price paid. This T & C is endorsed by STAR – the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers – a self-regulatory body. My own previous experiences with Ticketmaster, Ticketweb and The Ticketfactory is that they do provide FULL REFUNDS if the event is cancelled. Surely the promoter who organisers the event has insurance in place to cover costs incurred if an event is cancelled?. Why should the consumer through no fault of his/her own suffer this financial penalty?.