It’s a frustrating process for many online shoppers; you’ve waited months in anticipation of a great concert or sports game, you’ve scoured the web for the best tickets at the best value, and you’ve finally found the deal that’s right for you. But once you click to accept the tickets, you suddenly notice that the price has gone up, substantially. Wondering what happened, you notice that there have been some additional charges to your order. Service charges and fees are all too common of a practice for ticket resellers, especially on the Internet.
Some ticket brokers like ticketclub.com, ticketmonster.com, and ticketpick.com try to feature all-in ticket pricing. This includes the service charges into the prices listed on the sites, thus giving buyers an honest display of what they actually have to pay to secure their tickets. Major ticket resellers such as Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) and Stubhub (NASDAQ: EBAY) toyed with the idea of all-in pricing this year, but have since rescinded the policy. Stubhub gave it up a month ago, while Ticketmaster (a part of Live Nation) has now joined in this past week.
Last week Ticketmaster quietly reversed its policy on showing some tickets with all-in pricing according to well-placed sources. This followed a similar move by Stubhub, which was first reported on ticketnews.com. It remains to be seen how customers will react, though chances are they won’t be happy.
All-in pricing is a rarity across the Internet, as the intense competition on prices encourages retailers like Ticketmaster (NYSE: LYV) and Stubhub (NASDAQ: EBAY) to hide their fees until the very last moment. Busy customers are usually too time-constrained to shop around (and discover all the various fees and charges) to find the right deal. It’s not the best practice around for consumers, and it results in many fans getting ripped off in the ticket buying process.
But the verdict is out. Fees later in the transaction process increase conversion rates in online marketplace, thus proving to be tempting for online retailers. However, this does run the risk of alienating customers until they decide to shop elsewhere. Things won’t change until consumers change their practices and find new sources for second-hand tickets. In the meantime, it is fees, fees, and more fees for shoppers on sites like Ticketmaster and Stubhub.