Wednesday, 25 March 2009

You Mugging Me Off?

Up until the middle of the nineteenth century, mounted robbers in masks used to rob wealthy people travelling in stage coaches on the highways of Great Britain.

These days ticketing agencies do the job just as well, but they hide behind legal jargon and T's & C's.

I've recently been royally ripped off by Ticketmaster. Not once, but twice.

I bought tickets for myself & workmates for the recent England vs. Italy 6 Nations rugby at Twickenham. I've been desperate to see an England rugby game, and was pleased to hook into the public sale. I booked the tickets and went to the confirmation page of the sale. The face value of the tickets was £60 a hit. I was charged £3.25 postage, and, as I breezed through the confirmation process, I clicked OK for the £4 "service charge". £4 per transaction I thought was quite reasonable, but to be fair, I was half asleep at the time.

STAND AND DELIVER! £4 per f*cking ticket = £28. What a rip off! I rang to query why the fees were so high, and spoke with a lady who politely explained that their fees were charged as a % of the ticket price. So the higher the price of the ticket -> the higher the fee charged by Ticketmaster.

Why this is, I don't know. Whether you buy a £120 corporate package, or the £35 cheap seats, it's still the same monkey at Ticketmaster processing your order. And the fact you're charged for one ticket or 7 tickets is irrelevant; you get charged per ticket not per transaction, which is fundamentally wrong, and a rip off. When I got the tickets through in the post all 7 tickets were joined together in a perforated strip, so it was just as easy for a Ticketmaster monkey to put 1 ticket into an envelope as it would do for them to put 7 in.

The helpful lady also pointed out that I had the choice to decline the transaction before clicking the button marked "yes please mug me off". What choice though - (a) pay Ticketmaster's exorbitant fee .... or (b) pay a tout outside the ground much more?

It doesn't end there. Last week I booked tickets (face value £65) to see U2 at their forthcoming Wembley gig. I can't wait to see them play live for the 4th time in my life. I've been lucky to see them twice at the "old" Wembley, and once at their 2001 Homecoming gig at Slane Castle. For this privilege, Ticketmaster charged me £7.50 per ticket. Plus a one-off £3.25 delivery charge. YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE.

It's money for old rope. Someone in a position of authority needs to look into this practice of ripping off sports & music fans. Monopoly at it's worst.