In what has become a familiar trope any time tickets to the still unassailably popular musical Hamilton go on sale, things didn’t exactly go as planned for members of Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center last week. Everyone – whether they were trying to buy tickets to that show or not – got stuck in a multi-hour waiting room as the website churned through the traffic bottleneck.
Some fans got an even less pleasant shock, as their initial price jumped by more than $1,000 from the displayed face value they thought they were purchasing.
One consumer purchased four tickets – three at a $500 value and another for $125 – after waiting five hours in the virtual line. Service fees then tacked on $280. Then, the order said her credit card would actually be charged $2,280 – another $375. After calling the box office to complain, she was told that the earlier markups actually hadn’t covered all of the cost, and that her total price would run $2,780 – $1,155 more than face value that displayed in her “cart” for the sale.
“That’s a bait and switch,” she told the Washington Post. “We had a final sale.”
Initially, the box office employee Rabin was talking to informed her that if she didn’t want the tickets at the pumped-up price, they’d simply refund her purchase. But thankfully for her, and presumably for the Kennedy Center’s Public Relations staff, company officials reversed course and decided to honor the original prices displayed, glitch or not.
“The Kennedy Center will not be asking customers to pay more,” spokesman Brendan Padgett told the Washington Post. “It is absolutely our error, and we are honoring te price they paid during the transaction, which is lower than the actual price of ‘Hamilton’ tickets at the Kennedy Center.”
Padgett declined to comment when asked how many tickets were affected by the glitch.
Demand soared for the members-only sale, which saw some wait as long as 12 hours before being informed that the tickets were sold through. Hamilton is at the venue for a 14-week run beginning in early June.