Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing policy for Radiohead’s upcoming concerts in Manchester and London, England is causing a stir among concert goers who are finding it nearly impossible to transfer their tickets.
The paperless ticketing system, which was first implemented in England earlier in 2012 at the behest of concert organizers, prevents individuals who purchase tickets to an event from transferring the tickets to others. With regard to the upcoming Radiohead concert dates, ticket buyers were instructed that they would only be able to pick up their tickets from the concert venue with the credit card that originally made the purchase and an additional form of identification.
The original intent of the paperless ticketing system was to prevent the resale of tickets at prices greatly exceeding face value, a constant concern in Great Britain, where ticket resale is already tightly monitored for sporting events. However, these guidelines have caused havoc for those who purchased tickets for the event but are now unable to attend, as well as for those who purchased the tickets for friends or family as gifts.
Two fans expressed their frustrations with The Guardian explaining that they can no longer attend the concert due to work responsibilities yet they are stuck paying for tickets they cannot use or even offer to friends and family members due to the inflexibility of paperless tickets. They aren’t alone, paperless tickets have caused headaches for fans everywhere. One group is taking a stand against these restrictive tickets, the Fan Freedom Project, with the motto “We the fans believe we own the tickets we buy.” This consumer advocacy and education group’s mission is to protect the basic rights of ticket holders, who should be allowed to resell or give away tickets as a gift at their discretion.
With the Radiohead concerts set to begin next weekend, ticketholders are struggling to find ways to exchange their tickets through Ticketmaster to mixed results. According to an article in The Guardian, some ticketholders, namely a man who received the tickets as a gift, have been able to have the purchased tickets placed in their name. However, several other individuals quoted in the piece stated that they have been told by Ticketmaster that an exchange of their tickets is not possible under the terms of their purchase agreement.
Jon Wiffen, a spokesman for Ticketmaster, told The Guardian that Ticketmaster would attempt to help customers with their conflict, but the company clearly states its return and exchange policy to all buyers. “Terms and conditions relating to the purchase of paperless tickets are clearly outlined to customers at multiple stages during the purchase process, including the initial purchase page, the shipping page and the billing page. Information relating to their purchase of paperless tickets is also conveyed on the confirmation email they receive.”
This is only the latest dust up between ticket buyers and Ticketmaster over the use of paperless tickets. In early September, a class action lawsuit was filed in New York over the use of paperless tickets for a Swedish House Mafia concert, among others. The suit alleges that Ticketmaster violated New York law by only offering tickets to the concert in paperless format with no means to exchange the tickets.
While there is currently no means by which Ticketmaster paperless ticket buyers can exchange or resell their tickets to events, Ticketmaster has confirmed to the UK website Thisismoney.com, that the company is in the process of developing an online exchange site that would allow consumers to resell their paperless tickets for face value. The company was unable to confirm a launch date for the site, or whether or not there would be a usage cost, but a spokesperson did state that once the site was ready it would be launched through the Ticketmaster website.
But until then, it appears those who buy paperless tickets will have to buy with the knowledge that if they are unable to attend, they may be simply out of luck.