By law, ticket sellers must give you clear, honest information about prices and tell you about any extra charges on top of the ticket's face value.
This includes commission, booking fees, service charges, administration charges, credit card fees and delivery.
You might be able to avoid some or all fees by booking at the venue in person and paying in cash – some venues will charge you a fee to use a debit or credit card.
The typical way that most ticket sellers and secondary websites earn money is through the additional service fees they charge customers.
These extra service charges create a contract between you and the ticket seller, so they're obliged to get you your tickets in time.
It's not only ticket agents that charge service fees. Theatres can also add a service charge if you use their online or phone services to book tickets. The same applies for many major event venues.
Ticket seller charges
There are typically two types of extra fees charged by ticket sellers on top of a ticket's face value:
- A booking fee or service charge for every ticket in your order
- A postage charge for each complete order
There is no standard way to calculate a service charge for particular tickets. Promoters and agents agree on the fees for each individual event.
Even opting to collect your tickets at a venue's box office rather than having them delivered to your door often attracts a charge from official ticket sellers, as does email delivery of tickets where you print them out yourself, such as Ticketmaster's TicketFast service.
- A service charge can be called different names. Look out for a processing fee, commission, transaction fee, or order processing fee – these could all be service charges
- Don’t rely on promotional advertising to give you the full price you’ll pay when you buy tickets
- The best chance you have to avoid extra service charges is to turn up at the venue’s box office
- If you choose to go to the venue’s box office, pay cash as some venues will charge you a fee for paying by credit card
Avoid ticket service charges
Often, the first a consumer hears about a ticket seller's service charges is when they go through to a sales site or phone line to book the tickets, so don't rely on promotional advertising to give you the full price you'll pay when you buy tickets.
There should always be an option to buy tickets at face value without paying extra service charges. For many events the only way to avoid paying any extra charges is to turn up at the venue's box office.
Even then, pay cash to avoid a service charge, as some venues will charge you a fee for paying by credit card.
The term used to describe extra charges varies among different ticket sellers. For example, a booking fee or service charge can also be a processing fee or commission. The delivery fee can also be known as a transaction fee or order processing fee.