Frugal Living 

Avoid Ticketmaster’s Ridiculous Fees

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I have nothing against Barry Diller or InterActiveCorp but when Ticketmaster (owned by IAC) wants to charge me a $9 “convenience charge” for a $38 ticket to see a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion, then I think that’s a little excessive. I can almost understand a ten dollar service charge on, say, a hundred dollar ticket but when the service charge represents about a quarter of the final price of the ticket then we’re talking about a rip off.

To avoid this, the best solution is to buy the ticket from the venue itself. This is a hit and miss proposition but its your only shot at getting a ticket without paying the Ticketmaster fee. Your best bet is to call up the box office and ask if there is a service charge for buying a ticket there. Some will not charge any service fee, some will charge a Ticketmaster level rip-off fee, but some will charge a smaller fee (just to pay for the person attending the ticket booth). If it’s convenient, I’d recommend calling and buying the ticket in person. Another word of warning, many box offices won’t take phone or online orders, so you’ll have to physically go to the box office and buy it there.

I’m not in the camp that says Ticketmaster is trying to rip you off, they are providing a service after all, but I think that $10 on a $40 ticket is a little much… enough so that I’d be willing to drive up to the box office and pick a pair on my own (depending on how far it is, in this case Merriweather is a mile away).

Ahhh monopolies…

{ 47 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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47 Responses to “Avoid Ticketmaster’s Ridiculous Fees”

  1. SGC says:

    I do not work for Ticketmaster, but I do work in the ticket industry. I can say this. All of those service charges are not Ticketmaster. They include facility fees, promoter fees, sometimes parking fees, box office fees, etc. Ticketmaster fees are only a fraction of that and are used to for technology development and the cost of business. They are not a monopoly because there are others competing against them such as and other in-house services such as Tessitura (used in arts organizations). I’ve always agreed that building the charges into the price of the ticket would lessen the blow consumers feel that they are delivered when making this purchase, but most of the people making these decisions have not worked in ticketing and do not deal with the public on a daily basis and seek better ways to keep them happy.

    I think (owned by MLB) scales their service charges based on a percentage, but I do not know for sure if they build other costs into their pricing (before charges). I would assume so, because after all, they’re in the business to make money too.

    Ticketmaster sells convenience. You will rarely ever have to stand in line for long or wait on hold or have problems purchasing tickets online. Generally by the time the customer has paid the money and seen the show and captured a great experience, the service charge doesn’t really matter to that person. Consumers tend to remember the experience, not the ticket charges when it’s all over.

    I understand your argument though…I feel the same way about banks.

    • ya right! says:

      Dude, you did a great job of convincing us you are not an employee of ticketmaster. We are so glad you are not working for amazon! We don’t need to hear from you how little ticketmaster makes from fees. Just release the tickets to hundreds of online websites, we don’t need crappy ticketmaster.

    • Adam says:


      First off, the irony in the name kills me. Convenience fee! How about “Happy rape” or “Justice murder”? I also don’t think TM is just breaking even charging between 25-50% in fees. They also charge processing and printing fees? To massively process data in the information age costs nothing. That’s why I can do things like post opinions online for free. BECAUSE DATA IS SO CHEAP ITS FREE! And printing? They print hundreds of thousands of tickets a year and then try to turn it over for 1-3$ / ticket?!?! Malarchy.

  2. Courtney says:

    I just looked into buying a $15 ticket on Ticketmaster. The total, with all of their fees was over $26. NOTE: I selected the print at home option because I once ordered tickets and had them delivered by mail and, when they did not arrive, Ticketmaster refused to give me a refund or issue new tickets.

    It seems we’ve crossed over from the 25% of the entire ticket price to nearly 75% of the ticket cost. Criminal.

  3. Doc says:

    I went online to buy a ticket for a political rally… I noted a ‘convenience fee’. What the hell is this? A convenience to them. I do not buy the above bull CRAP about fees for this- fees for that. Put in in the ticket! Let us have the full SLAP in the face, instead of saying a price, then getting us excited- Oh, then adding CRAP on to line your pockets! Oh yes, many will just say “What Ever! I just loved this:______. ” And then do not think that you paid extra for some idiot who ripped your sorry butt off. Fill in the blank you non-thinking morons!

    From now on, of If am not close- screw it- I will not see the event. It will be online on YouTube or some site for free anyhow- Hell, it may be on your favorite network “Simulcast” a day later.

    We need to take these ticket hounds buy the horns and say “Nah, you all are Rip Offs!”. It will never happen.

    Nerve and Balls are gone. Enjoy your fees and add them after three years. You will suddenly have to use the bathroom….

    Such “Non-Planners” make me PUKE.

  4. Mikey Benny says:

    SGC is *lying* when he says, “All of those service charges are not Ticketmaster.”.

    Yesterday I wanted to buy two $25 tickets for a Flogging Molly concert. TM wanted $73.65 for two $25 tickets.

    $2 Facility charge apiece
    $6.70 Convenience charge apiece
    $4.50 Order processing fee (??!!??!!)
    $1.75 to print online (??!!??!!)

    I went to the box office (they were open because there was a show last night), and I bought two tickets for $50.00. Not a single penny in fees.

    I will never buy online again.

  5. Kahuna says:

    Ticketmaster is nothing but a bunch of theives with a monopoly on ticket sales. I was shopping for tickets for an event – the price of the tickets (for 4) was $134 – with ticktmaster (Old English for “crooks”) the price is $186!! outrageous! I refuse to pay their fees and I hope that you join me in boycotting the purchase of tickets through tickmaster and similar organizations that rip off consumers!

  6. Romanu says:

    You guys will love this:

    Ticket Price:$15.00 x 2
    Facility Charge: $1.50 x 2
    Convenience Charge: $6.70 x 2
    Additional Taxes: $0.34 x 2
    SUBTOTAL: $47.08

    Paying nearly 57% more, and that’s without printing online. How exactly can you logically defend charging people for printing something at their own cost versus taking on printing and mailing costs? I bet they’ll fix that by making ticket mailing $2.50, as well.

    And SGC, “Consumers tend to remember the experience, not the ticket charges”?!?! Then howcome there’s antifan groups out there specifically targeting TicketMaster?

  7. cdiver says:

    Crooks with a hook in the industry. Often hard to get tickets ahead of time or presale otherwise.

  8. Mike says:

    Im looking to go to a Paramore concert in Philly. the ticket is $37.50, but there is a $12.50 convenience fee. That fee is a third of the price of the ticket. Theyre even charging the fee if i go to the mall a few miles away and go to the vendor in boscovs. can someone tell me what is so convenient about having to leave my house drive to a mall buy the ticket in person then turn around anddrive back. if theyre going to charge u chouldnt it only be for online print outnpurchases

  9. Gus says:

    It is outrageous they can charge so much in the information age! The saddest thing is that is indirectly or directly extracting revenues from the artists, who really put a lot of effort. As somebody said before, a TAX ON CULTURE. Imagine if Amazon were to charge a $10 convenience fee how fast they would go out of business!

  10. Cody says:

    This really is a scam. I bought a ticket yesterday to Iron Maiden in Sunrise, FL, which is a good 2 hours away from my house, making it a huge hassle to drive up there and buy a ticket.

    Ticket x 1: $59.50
    Convenience Charge: 1 x $13.25
    Processing Fee: 1 x $5.65

    I didn’t even get the $7 ticket insurance or $2.50 electronic ticket delivery. What’s more outrageous? If I wanted them delivered within this week, it would have been an extra $25.

    So I bough ta ticket for $59.50, and they charged me $19.90 to put the tickets in a plain white envelope with my address on it. Isn’t a postage stamp something like $0.25?

  11. matt says:

    Here’s another one for ya. Just tried to purchase a $20 concert ticket online for this weekend. Ticketbastard fees = $15. Yep, that’s right. My concert ticket increased by 75% with the snap of a finger. And this does not include the $2.50 fee to print from home option if I really wanted to get all “convenient” and stuff. Nope, this would be a will call order. Seriously, it’s out of control. Maybe I will start my own online ticketing business. Hmmmm……

  12. ufatbasted says:

    WTF 12.25 Convenience Charge per ticket???

    Full Price Ticket
    Ticket Price
    US $75.00 x 2
    Facility Charge
    US $2.00 x 2
    Convenience Charge
    US $12.25

  13. Yes, Ticketmasteris a total ripoff, $57.60 including fees for a pair of tickets with a face value of $18.00 each, with me printing them up at home, that’s 21.60 in fees. “Convenience Charge” is a BS fee — what about the 6.95 per ticket that they charge up front per ticket, wouldn’t that be enough? And I am printing them up myself — shouldn’t that be FREE?

  14. Jessica Smith says:

    Tickets for Sugarland cost $47.50. After fees, each ticket $63.45, yeah, that’s right, the fees are $16 per ticket! I called the venue to see if I buy at the box office, are some of the fees waived and he said no. How can I be charged convenience charge to drive clear across town and purchase them at the box office. What a crock.

  15. Joseph W. says:

    Pinback Tickets at the El Rey: $21.00/ea
    TM Surcharges: $10.65/ea

    Total for (2) Tickets: $63.30

    And music industries wonder why concert sales are slipping. Why would anyone pay the price of (3) tickets when they only want (2)?

  16. Justin says:

    Bob Schneider at the Bluebird Theater in Denver.
    Tickets 25.25 each x 4
    Convenience 9.35 each x 4
    40% F*#k-Off

  17. Anonymous says:

    i hate ticketmaster, one of the biggest scam artists in the US

  18. Raja says:

    The total price of two tickets was $35.00, with fees and other charges I ended up paying $48.50. A total ripoff. I will never buy tickets through Ticketmaster again. I did not know if the tickets were available at box office.

  19. Ramon says:

    Last time I purchase tickets through TicketScamMaster.

    They prey on people’s weaknesses, since they know it’s usually two or more people that attend, and no one wants to tell the other(s) that they’re not going because they don’t want to pay the convenience fee; before you get the chance to explain your position, you’ll have to confront the possibility of being labeled a cheap-ass, and that thought alone is enough to get people to pay the outrageous fees.

    It’s group dynamics and they understand people’s weaknesses very well.

    Even better, try telling your significant other that that special concert is not happening due to convenience fees and see if she/he will understand.

    Oh, the fees that can be extracted from people when their behavior is understood.

    *As I write this, my girlfriend looks over my shoulder and reads my comment. I say: “Oh, this doesn’t apply to us; I know that If I told you the convenience fee was too much for us to see the concert, you would understand, right?”, to which she replies, “no!”.

  20. rob says:

    Happens in Canada as well as the US. Just bought tickets for Flogging Molly recently and the fees are $11 on a $27.50 ticket before shipping or printing. Looked at Duran Duran tix as well And the fees are $16.25 on a $42.50 ticket for the least expensive seats. Thankfully my cell company offers some tix available through them with almost no fees. I saved $10 per ticket to FM and $16 per ticket to Duran. Most people don’t know about that option so far

  21. Beti says:

    @SCG You said the extras are sometimes “facility fees, promoter fees…box office fees, etc.”

    I’m fine with paying a few dollars for the convenience of not going to the box office itself and having the tickets sent to me. And even for will call tickets. (But shouldn’t the charge be a little less for will calls?)

    Why is the _ticket company_ charging a facility fee, though? Isn’t that part of the ticket cost itself? When I go to a club with live music, the entry cost is split between the club and the performer, isn’t it? And isn’t the band (or the label) paying their own promoter? Clubs foot the bill for their own advertising.

    And box office fee? Ticketmaster IS the box office here.

    And lastly, each ticket company DOES have a monopoly on each venue. I can’t go to multiple ticket vendors for a show and compare prices. For the artist I want to see, it’s Ticketmaster or staying home with my CDs.

  22. DiscoDee says:

    Like others, I do not care for additional fees. HOWEVER, in looking for great seats, I was able to find better ones (for the same day/time) on Ticketmaster than the box office offered. Still haven’t figured out “why”. But, to me, it was worth the extra $ for the better seats.

    Bottom line: Research first, complain second.

  23. alex says:

    two tickets: $32
    convenience charge:$14.10
    order processing:$3.70

    What a rip off….

  24. Stephanie says:

    I too learned the hard way when purchasing tickets online through Ticketmaster. I ordered 6 tickets to Lion King @ $85 a piece ($510) I paid 2.25 a piece for a facility charge ($13.50), a single fee of $6.20 order processing fee, which at that point brought my total to $529.70. I have to say that I would not have been that upset with a reasonalbe “convenience fee” charged to my order. When I saw that @14.20 was added PER TICKET, with a total of $85.20 added for the convenience fee, I was truly disgusted. How do they get away with this?!! If an agent would have told me when I ordered my tickets that the actual total per ticket was going to be $101.50 I would have canceled my order at that moment. I think calling it a convenience fee is another way to get around scamming us consumers. I will tell everyone I know never to order from Ticketmaster and totally agree with boycotting them. If everyone comes together and stops paying these ridiculous fees, maybe putting them out of business or writing letters to the local televison stations and congress, we can get the word out and try to get to the root of why they are able to charge these crazy fees, and why there is not a “cap” put on how much they can charge for “convenience.”

  25. Jerf says:

    Here’s an idea… don’t go to the fucking shows then.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks for such a “brilliant” idea. As a matter a fact I did cancel my ticket order and bought the tickets elsewhere where I didn’t have to pay such an outrageous “convience fee.” BTW, You must have mistyped your name typed an “f” at the end instead of a “k.”

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