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).