What happens when you shell out big bucks for a show, only to have the venue switched without explanation, and you get far inferior seats in the new building? In the instance of at least one Fleet Foxes fan in New Zealand, you get a rare thing indeed – an occasion to see the words Ticketmaster apologizes in a headline. And a refund.
According to a report on Stuff.co.nz, six friends dropped a hundred dollars each for some of “the best tickets” to a Fleet Foxes concert in Wellington, the island nation’s capital city. Those seats were for the originally announced venue – the Michael Fowler Centre. But just prior to the event (a fortnight, per Stuff.co.uk), the venue was changed to the city’s Opera House.
Because they had purchased good seats, the six concert-goers expected they would receive similar tickets in the new venue. Instead, they were seated several rows back from the stage, and when they got to their allocated row there were only five seats available. That meant the sixth person was split from the rest of the group. His wife eventually moved back so he was not sitting alone.
“All in all, it was a cock up,” said Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney, who was among the group. “What should’ve been a great night out … was marred by the group being split up and shoved into inferior seats with limited viewing.”
Being fair to Ticketmaster, the issues here were likely entirely out of their control. They are the ticketing vendor for a performance, and likely sold the seats on a seat map for one room, only to then have the promoters/event managers shift the location, which presumably led to more than a couple instances where groups held seats that simply didn’t exist, or at least didn’t exist in the configuration they had anticipated. So some square pegs had to be reworked into round holes.
Ticketmaster said as much in its response.
“Ticketmaster wants all fans to have the best possible experience and we take all complaints very seriously,” it said in a statement, which also indicated that the venue change was the responsibility of event organizer CRS Music Management. “On this occasion, a seat was sold in error and the customer will be reimbursed the cost of the ticket and booking fee. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.”
For better or worse, Ticketmaster takes on the public face for events it tickets, which is a huge percentage of events across the globe these days. The fact that they are often blamed for any bad concert experience – whether it has anything to do with them or not – is a part of the price of how they do business.
In this instance, it means catching some bad headlines, and refunding some tickets. It’s just always interesting to see what consumer complaints that the Live Nation-owned giant actually offers a response to.