/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Do ticket charges tick you off?

Am I the only one who gets really ticked off when I get charged for printing off tickets I’ve bought for a concert, festival, flight or event? What’s the biggest ticketing fee you’ve been charged?

Sure, I can get my hands on the tickets quicker and the charge can often be cheaper than delivery costs. But I still find it almost insulting that I have to pay for a service that requires me to use my own electricity and printer ink, while essentially saving a company money on postage and packaging.

It always leaves me feeling like I’ve just had an encounter with Dick Turpin.

Why do we have to pay to print our tickets?

I regularly use self-service checkouts in supermarkets and pack items into my own shopping bags, yet I’m not required to pay extra for the ‘privilege’ of doing that. So why do companies like Ticketmaster impose such charges on customers when they buy tickets and print them off?

Ticketmaster has said the charges for its Ticketfast service – about £2.50 on average – covers staffing and technology costs at venues to read and validate tickets. But its website states that all customers pay a service charge which goes towards access control at venues, regardless of how their tickets are delivered. Commenter Lady Margaretta shared her frustrations on a previous ticketing Conversation:

‘I just bought tickets to an event at the O2 via Ticketmaster website and I’m pretty annoyed because I had to pay £2.75 for their “Ticketfast” service. This basically means I paid £2.75 for the privilege of printing off my own ticket, using my own printer and my own ink.’

Ticketmaster is, of course, not the only company that charges its customers to print tickets. Ryanair charges £6 to check-in online and print boarding cards. Anyone who forgets to print one faces a £60 fine for a replacement at the airport. Ryanair said its passengers agree to check-in online and print boarding cards, which lowers handling costs and fares.

Call for transparent ticket costs

I understand that companies have to cover their costs, but it’s bad enough when you get hit by card surcharges without having to deal with this as well. With most firms, the price you see is the price you pay, so why can’t ticket charges be more transparent?

We’d like to see all mandatory charges in the headline price, which we’re on the road to achieving with credit and debit card surcharges. So, don’t be shy, do extra ticket charges tick you off as much as they do me?

Would you prefer it if all charges were included in the headline ticket price?

Yes (94%, 299 Votes)

I don't know (5%, 15 Votes)

No (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 320

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Comments
Profile photo of davpar
Member

I would like to see a single price for purchasing a ticket. I don’t care about postage, self print, venue restoration charges, local tax etc. I want to compare (if possible) the price charged for the seat by a number of ticket suppliers and make my decision who to buy from on that basis.

Profile photo of Ali Eastwood
Member

I recently bought 2 tickets via Ticketmaster for a gig in December. The pricing seemed transparent at first: they were quoted as £28 + £3.55 charges but when I eventually got to the delivery options I was stung again.

As much as I agree it’s outrageous to pay to print off your own tickets, in this case I was given no option at all other than having to accept delivery by secure postage which was a further £5.50. Has that happened to anyone else?

Profile photo of dean
Member

I recently bought tickets to a Tesseract show for 3 people.

Despite 1 print out that admits 3, I was charged the booking fee 3 times.

Profile photo of Jennifer Davis
Member

This really ‘ticks’ me off as well. I have often been in the same situation as Alison, whereby I believe I know the price for my tickets and then get stung for the delivery. In many cases, I’ve been offered delivery to my home for the same price as printing them off – I’m not sure where the sense is in this. I absolutely think home printing should result in a discount.

Member

I voted No. I completely disagree with paying to print off my own tickets but I want to see in detail what these companies are charging me for. If we have a single headline price we won’t know the cost of the ticket and the break down of the so called service & delivery charges. It’d be a license for the ticket companies to hike charges further.

Profile photo of davpar
Member

So we should applaud their transparency here and encourage all companies we purchase anything from to show a breakdown of all the different charges (if any) applicable? I’m not against that I just want an easy life but for the sake of competition I suppose you are right we need to know everything to make an accurate comparison. At the end of the day the final total price I am required to pay is the one I use for comparison purposes resulting in either buying somewhere else or not buying at all. I am not going to pay an unfair price for anything but if others are “the license to print money” companies could win. Suppy and demand!

Profile photo of sue lees
Member

Was going to book Cirque du Soleil tickets for Manchester show. They were £100 each AND Ticketmaster wanted £10.25 per ticket. I’ll do baht (as in ‘On Ikley Moor Baht ‘At’). It’s just obscene.

Member
Giuseppe says:
18 October 2012

I recently wanted to buy a ticket for a gig I really didn’t want to miss, organised by the KiliLive company. They would in turn direct me to Eventim, which handled the ticket sale.

Eventim would charge me 2 pounds to…print my ticket with my paper, ink and on my printer. This on top of the 2.50 pounds of card handling fee.

While asking KiliLive by email, they didn’t even bother answering. Finding this profoundly unjust, I eventually just ditched the show.

But to be honest, even your question doesn’t go to the heart of the issue. The problem is not whether or not the unreasonable charge should be quoted separately. The question is: should the company offer a reason on their page why the “print-it-yourself” charge is applied at all? I’d be curious to see how they phrase this..

Member

If I buy something I want to know how much it will cost me, not the price minus compulsory costs. It’s just a misleading con. If they carry on with these types of practices soon wheels will be optional extras when buying cars.

Member
Georgina says:
19 October 2012

What I find particularly annoying is venues who add an administration charge for tickets that they are selling direct. Sadlers Wells have been doing this for years.

Member

I went to see Greg Davies in Nottingham last night (he was excellent). I booked my tickets in March through Ticketmaster, paid £2.50 standard postage, and yet ended up picking the tickets up from the Box Office an hour before the gig because of “time constraints”. They had 7 months to put 2 pieces of paper in an envelope and send them to me for a lot more than the price of a 1st class stamp, but ran out of time on this mission?

Member
Jonny White says:
23 October 2012

A year ago there was a big feature on booking fees in the Which magazine. You had done a survey on people’s opinions. Do you have those results online anywhere?

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member
Member
Jonny White says:
23 October 2012

Thanks Patrick. That’s the one.

Member

I booked 4 £20 tickets with Ticketmaster and was charged £3.50 per ticket booking fee AND in additon, I was also charged £2 to collect the tickets from the venue on the night! Absolutely outrageous…£80 tickets and £16 fee which equates to 20% of the total ticket price. Something really needs to be done about this…

Member
Dick says:
25 October 2012

I agree with Ian above – I want to know what I am being charged for.
I don’t mind paying a sensible per-transaction (NOT ‘per ticket’) charge, but charging to print my own tickets is just a rip-off .. an example of how a (near) monopoly (in this case Ticketmaster) can hold its market hostage.
It has modified my behaviour. Now when I buy tickets from places such as the National Gallery I don’t include any donation or other charitable uplift. I’d like the National Gallery to use its heft to put a stop to these charges.

Member
Annabel says:
25 October 2012

I have just bought tickets for Twelfth Night at the Apollo theatre, the theatre website sent me to Encore Tickets to book the seats. Each seat had a £7 booking fee!!

The booking fees are way out of control – theatre booking fees used to be about £1.50 how are now so high.

Member
Stave says:
28 October 2012

When last buying tickets in person over the counter at the Malvern Theatres, I was charged a handling fee. This does not happen when I buy a newspaper.
Disgusting!

Profile photo of janv
Member

I have just bought some tickets for Eddie Izzard’s concert at The Brighton Centre. Unless you can get to their box office, you have to buy via Ticketmaster. So, each ticket has a face value of £35, then a service charge of £3.65. I gritted my teeth about that, but felt absolutely gobsmacked by the £2.55 charge for them to send me an e-mail so that I could print my own tickets. Particularly since they make them posting you the tickets so unattractive, pointing out that they may get lost in the post, and that they will only commit to you having them 48 hours before the show. (It’s in June – nearly seven months away). I feel completely manipulated by this. They mights as well have said “Print them yourself or else.”

I really wish more performers would follow the stance that Sarah Millican has taken (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/comedy/news/booking-fees-no-joke-says-sarah-millican-8135800.html) and refuse to play venues that abdicate their responsibility to their patrons by subcontracting selling tickets to Ticketmaster et al.

Venues which handle their own bookings (the ones local to me at least) play much fairer. I regularly use Warwick Arts Centre and The RST/Swan in Stratford Upon Avon. WAC have a booking fee of 50p/ticket for online booking, but no charge if you book by phone. They charge 75p to send the tickets, and they have never failed to arrive within days yet. The RST have no booking fee at all but do ask for a 10% charitable donation, which is completely optional. (Their telephone booking line is also free and very knowledgable about the views from every seat!) Postage is £1.50, and again they never fail to arrive within just a few days. Both venues are also very efficient at picking up your tickets pre-performance for free. I’m happy to pay postage at that level as I feel it accurately reflects their costs (and that WAC is undercharging me a bit.)

When I buy something in a shop, there is no service charge for the sales assistant to take my money off me and bag my purchases. Even why I buy it online, there is no service charge, and often not even a P&P. The shop does have that cost, but it is met within the purchase price. I absolutely fail to see why buying a ticket should be any different!

Profile photo of davpar
Member

I purchased tickets for Eddie Izzard’s concert in the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) next May 2013. I purchased four tickets at £35 each. Total paid was £140 for the tickets. BIC Booking Fee £18.20 (BH Live Tickets) and Standard Mail charge £1.50. A grand total of 159.70. Hope he’s worth it! I think that means I saved 15 pence compared to what you paid.

Member

Just bought tickets online for a Moody Blues concert. Advertised price: £29.50 per ticket. Actual price: £36.40 per ticket. 23% higher than the advertised price. The difference? £5.50 per ticket ‘booking fee’ plus £2.81 ‘transaction fee’ for paying by card (the only payment option offered).

And this was by far the best deal available: other sellers were charging even higher booking fees, including the venue’s own ‘s box office to customers who went to buy in person!

The agent I bought from also tried to sell me ‘cancellation insurance’ so I’d get a refund if the performance was cancelled. But their own terms and conditions say I would get a refund (of the ticket face value) if this happened anyway.

This all seems contrary to the priciples of pricing transparency enshrined in the OFT’s Consumer Protection Regulations. The sad thing is that if consumers decide to rebel and say ‘I’m not paying’ it will result in theatres and concert venues going out of business. Why is making people feel ripped off good for the business?

Member
Gill W says:
6 December 2012

Just been ripped off again, this time by Brighton Dome, who are charging a ‘transaction fee’ PER TICKET. Transaction fees are supposed to be per transaction.

The transaction fee only applied if you paid by card. But it amounted to 10% of the ticket price. Credit card processing fees are actually only 2-3% of the total transaction value, debit card fees even less.

Brighton Dome is owned by the local authority, so maybe they see this as a way of making much needed cash out of people who can afford to go to a concert. But why not be honest about it?

Member
Terry says:
18 December 2012

Looks like Ticket Master is the rogue in this case.
My first reaction was that it must be a result of out-sourcing, whereby a service provider needs/sees a way to maximise its own income when contracted to an event provider. Did you look into this? TJN.

Profile photo of kenp
Member

I paid Ticketmaster in October 2012 for a concert next year. I chose to pay to be able to print off the tickets as a couple of years ago Ticketmaster failed to post tickets I bought from them and I had to stand in a queue (for Paul Mccartney in Cardiff) with hundreds of others to be handed the ticket. There was no appology from Ticketmaster with them blaming the show organiser.
After paying for Ticketfast in October and going to print off the tickets the system does not let me saying that this was not possible at the moment. I have now waited weeks and even sent Ticketmaster an email question asking why I could not print off the tickest. Their answer is that the concert promoter has not yet released access. What are we paying for?

Member

i have just bought some tickets from my local odeon cinema, and i had to pay 0.75p per ticket, why is it not on the one transcation why both tickets as they only take one payment.

Member
Martin says:
3 February 2013

One quick mention on the flip side is that a friend and I recently booked a bunch of tickets for 6 matches in the Rugby League World Cup and were pleasantly surprised to “only” have to pay one booking charge on the order. Previous experience had (perhaps telling) led us to steel ourselves for one booking charge per ticket, which is outrageous yet not uncommon in online booking (Vue Cinemas, for instance).

Profile photo of kenp
Member

What I would like to know given the constant “tick off” of ticket buyers, and that is putting it politely, is what is WHICH going to do to help try change this?

Member
Norman Downie says:
13 October 2013

I wanted to book tickets at the New Theatre Oxford. Their on-line service is managed by ATG (Ambassador Theatre Group), and the booking process, right at the end of the transaction but before I agreed to pay, wanted a £4 “transaction fee”, plus a “per ticket” charge of £11.70 for 3 tickets. So we will not be going. I hate this attempt at last second hiking of the prices.

Member
Dave says:
13 October 2013

I found that the ATG Theatre Card offering, at most performances, no booking fees, no transaction charges plus ticket discounts at selected performances and at theatre bars, paid for itself after just one booking.

Member
Mike Dale says:
27 January 2014

VUE cinema at Westfield charges .75 pence per ticket. All VUE cinema tickets have to be done electronically these days so VUE is making an additional profit per ticket on already quite high admission prices.

Member
Elisabeth says:
6 February 2014

Twice in two days I have come across this “Fulfilment charge” when purchasing tickets. In the latest case, I emailed the company selling the tickets for clarification and received a rather bizarre email, that I think was possible meant for someone internal in the company or if it was for me didn’t even address my query. Is there any where we can offical lodge our complaints about these charges?

Profile photo of davpar
Member

COMMON EXPLANATION – We charge a fulfilment fee to contribute towards the cost of delivering our tickets to you, whether it is through the post, electronically or collecting at the venue. This fee is a one-off charge that covers the processing and delivery of the entire order, not each ticket.

The fulfilment fee is charged to help contribute towards other operational costs and overheads associated with ticket fulfilment e.g. ticket stock administration and inventory control, ticket stock/stationery, collection facilities and postage and/or packaging costs if it applies to the event.

The fulfilment fee will not be payable if a ticket is purchased and collected at the box office at the same time.

Member
Helen says:
27 February 2014

Hi,I have bought two tickets to see,Russell Howard ,at first direct,the ticket price was 93 pounds each , plus vat, and 8 pounds to send me the tickets 205 pounds in total, I have just recived the tickets and it says 27,50 on each of the tickets, does any one know why this could be,please could you let me know if any ideas on this,

Profile photo of davpar
Member

GET ME IN! is a leading UK based online ticket marketplace dedicated to the resale and exchange of live event tickets. Based in London and employing over 40 people, the company was launched in 2003. They have also launched websites in Germany and the Netherlands. GET ME IN! became a Ticketmaster company in January 2008.

Member
Helen says:
27 February 2014

Sorry for got to sat, I bought the tickets from get me in which are a ticket master company,

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

FYI we’ve published a debate about secondary ticketing sites like GetMeIn if you want to join in: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/buy-tickets-secondary-ticketing-viagogo-getmein-ebay/

Member
Kitty Fisher says:
11 August 2014

The tales above are as nothing compared to the rip off from Encore Tickets. They added a whopping 26% to each of the 4 £65 tickets my friend got to see Thriller Live! – charging us £82 for each ticket. Then they had the nerve to say they were regulated by STAR (Secure Tickets from Authorised Retailers) and buying tickets from them was safe!!

Do NOT buy your tickets from Encore unless you have money to burn.

Member
BobbyEssex says:
2 April 2015

The answer is simple to this “Great Highway Robbery” Just contact your local Trading Standards Office and Complain!!!

If they get enough complaints on one subject, they have to investigate, and issue a response.

So come on COMPLAIN and get these Robbers charges exposed!! Otherwise their next charge/fee will be a Breathing one, or a Booking in daylight charge, you get my drift??

Member
WSSLondon says:
22 June 2016

Frustrating that this is still happening in 2016! Second time I’ve bought tickets and seen this laughable ticketfast fee which apparently is made up of a 2.75 “order processing fee” – that is on top of the 2.95 I paid as a “booking processing fee”. All to print my tickets at home, which other agents allow me to do for free. Just complained to Trading Standards, but considering that people have been complaining for at least two years I don’t hold out much hope….

Member

If you get the tickets posted, you often face the same charge (which makes no sense as it cannot be the same cost to them). Plus, you get charged the same amount for each ticket they put inside the envelope (again, it cannot cost £3 to send one ticket, but £6 to send two tickets in the same envelope, or £9 for 3 etc.)

They already charge a “booking fee” – irrespective of whether you book online through an automated system or over the phone (again, those costs cannot be the same).

Worse still, they hold back tickets and move them onto their resale websites (they own a few of them) so that they can charge more.