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Ticket companies must play fair on additional fees

Compulsory ticket fees not always shown upfront

Which? is launching a new campaign calling on ticketing companies to play fair on ticket fees, as our investigation has found that these fees can often be hidden and unclear.

New Which? research reveals that eight in 10 people who have booked tickets online in the last year think the level of compulsory fees charged by many companies is a rip-off.

And half of consumers (49%) who booked tickets online in the last 12 months said that additional compulsory charges had put them off buying tickets for an event altogether.

Help us stamp out hidden ticket fees – support our campaign to make ticket companies play fair.

End hidden ticket fees

In a separate mystery shopping investigation, we looked at ticket prices and additional charges for 15 different music, comedy and theatre events across the country with 20 ticketing companies. 

Of the 20 ticketing companies we looked at, we found that seven don’t always reveal the exact cost of their additional compulsory fees upfront, making it difficult for customers to compare the cost of tickets between different sellers.

In response to our survey, the overwhelming majority of people (93%) agreed that companies should always show any extra compulsory charges upfront.

High mark-ups

Our investigation uncovered extra charges of up to more than a third of the ticket’s face value.  

For example, purchasing a ticket through See Tickets for Jimmy Carr’s December 2014 stand-up show at Wolverhampton Civic Hall at £25 incurred an extra £9.50 in additional fees (£3 booking fee plus £6.50 compulsory delivery fee) – a mark-up of 38%.  

Of the 78 individual bookings, in only two cases were tickets being sold at face value without any additional compulsory fees.

Paying to print at home

We also found examples of consumers being charged to print tickets out at home or to pick them up from the box office. Ticketmaster’s £3 charge for some events was the highest we found for box office collection. Printing at home was most expensive with Ticket Web and Eventim – both charged £2.50. 

Nine in 10 (91%) people told us they think it’s unfair to be charged for printing their tickets out at home and a similar number (89%) thought the same about being charged to collect tickets from the box office.

Which? is calling on companies to play fair on ticket fees

Which? is launching a campaign calling on all ticketing companies to Play Fair on Ticket Fees. We are calling for ticket companies and entertainment venues to:

  • End hidden fees – show all compulsory charges upfront
  • Justify their fees – give a clear explanation of what they’re for and set them at a fair level

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘Consumers tell us they are feeling ripped off by the level of ticketing charges and the lack of transparency means it is almost impossible for people to compare prices when booking online.

‘We want to see the ticketing industry Play Fair on Ticket Fees, so that all charges are displayed upfront and with a clear explanation of what they’re for.’

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