Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ticket Bas$%*ds

Capitalism is alive. Capitalism is well. Capitalism is breaking the hearts of little 9 year old girls everywhere.

So it's been a few years since I had to use Ticketmaster (well call it TM for short - or should that be TB?). Heck most of the concerts I've been to were more of a first come first serve basis where you camp out and the earlier you get there, the better your seat. I was recently drafted for a mission from my dear sis to play the role of "super aunt" and help procure Hannah Montana tickets for my niece. She was a member of the fan club and had a presale password to buy tickets before they went on sale to the general public. Since I'm an online wiz I took her up on the challenge and the second the presale started I was clicking away. The presale tickets sold out in literally seconds, with the only offerings being the nose bleed sections with the most expensive ticket price of $66 per ticket. (tickets were suppose to be $25 - $70). Thinking my sis wouldn't want to pay that much I didn't buy them at the high price and sadly I had failed my cute lil niece. I felt jipped.

I started researching complaints about TM/TB and found they are one GIANT monopoly. They control 90% of all large venues and 79% of smaller ones. If you want to go to ANYTHING you will have to go through TB. They have jacked up the prices but 30-40% after the ticket price with mysterious "fees" like the "convenience fee", the "facility charge", and of course taxes and shipping fees. They offer the worst seats first it seems, and come to find out they sell most of the medium to good tickets to ticket brokers (aka professional scalpers) who then jack up the prices to outrageous levels, with one ticket costing hundreds of dollars.

So the day of the "public" sale comes today and my sis decides to go TO an actual TB store in person to get tickets. I am recruited to try the online version again from another state at the same time to see if one of us can get them. This time we luck out. Well I don't, they offered me the very last row in the very back of the arena for $50 a pop. I think, I'll refresh and try something better. Nope. 20 seconds in they are sold out. My sis calls and says she was able to get 2, and her friend got 2 as well. All the tickets are near each other.. would you think they costs the same?? Well you'd be wrong.

My tickets: nosebleed near last row: $50 
Her friends tickets: nosebleed near the last row $60 
My sis's tickets: nosebleed near the last row $40

Now remember my nosebleed tickets at the presale I didn't buy: $66
Remember people that's the price BEFORE taxes, and about $17 in fees PER ticket

Is there any rhyme or reason to these prices? Wouldn't tickets on the floor be the most expensive around the $70 level and the nosebleeds be at the $25 price? A quick check on eBay and Craigslist shows that even these now crappy seat tickets are selling for $200 a ticket. This is crazy, what 9 year old girl and her mom can afford a $400 concert?

A few popular music bands have tried to sue TB as a monopoly. They have slowly been buying up smaller ticket sellers until there are none left. They can charge what they want, back door sell to scalpers, promise tickets together that when you get them are not together but they are not refundable (even if it is their mistake), and make a HUGE profit in the meantime. Heck I'm not against profit.. I'm against gouging the general public out of their hard earned cash. Even big sports teams have tried to sue them with no success. They cannot be stopped. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. They ain't kidding.

Here's a link to consumer complaints against TB

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