Tricky Tickets!

We’ve all been there: crouched over a MacBook, with credit card and coffee in hand, waiting for tickets to go on sale. Heart pounding, eyes saccading between digital clock and quivering pointer finger –

“11:59 and 59 second….12 pm! Ahhhhh!”

Wildly entering credit card information, addresses, forgetting to fill in the rogue box with the red asterisk next to it, screaming at the computer –

“I did NOT forget to fill in anything! Where?! What?”

And then remembering that computers really don’t respond to our screams the way our dog or parents do … So we obey. Type furiously. Sweat. Cry.

But then, THEN, the REAL kicker lands. We’ve clicked “Ready to Check Out,” and suddenly, the ticket we THOUGHT was $80.00 bucks magically turns out to be $110.00.

WHAT?!??!??!??!?!?

Friends: We all know what this is: This is a description of the travesty of hidden service fees.

Recently, Ticketmaster announced a major shift in their ticketing policies in a blog post on Ticketology http://blog.ticketmaster.com/2010/08/23/first-things-first/ No more hidden fees – all costs will be displayed to the nervous purchaser early in the ticket purchasing process.

Ticketmaster is changing their approach after collecting some important data: They found that some patrons are so angry after being surprised with extra service fees, they ABANDON THE PURCHASE. Further data revealed that if that same patron is told up front what the cost is going to be, they will buy the same ticket they abandoned before. People need to know what kind of wound they are inflicting on their already weather-beaten bank accounts.

Here at CUarts, we’ve been using transparent ticketing prices since the beginning!

The TIC makes sure patrons know the reasons they are being charged. At the TIC, the only service fees include:

1) Credit card fees

These fees are just like any other online credit card ticketing fee. They change based on the amount you are charging – i.e.  If you buy a $60 ticket to a Broadway show with your credit card, you will be charged a higher service fee than you would be for a $20 ticket to a small show downtown. The TIC online has info describing the why and wherefore of this charge, as well as a hard copy of sliding-scale credit card fees in Lerner.

2)  A $1.oo service charge for off campus shows

This $1.00 convenience fee supplements the student staff budget! The extra dollar allows the TIC to stay open until midnight most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for campus events, without having to charge additional fees to those student groups. The TIC includes wording online that clarifies the origins of this convenience fee, and the student staffers would be happy to talk to you about it more in person!

The Ticketmaster challenge? Match the glories of the TIC.

Feel free to throw any comments and stories this way. I want to hear all of your ticket purchasing horror and glory stories!

Your affectionate ticket-MISTRESS

Rosie duPont BC ’10
ArtsLink Associate

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