Ticket Gouging

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How Do I Avoid Ticketmaster Fees?

I was wondering if there is any way to get around all the fees that Ticketmaster charges to order tickets. Is there any other place to purchase the tickets that wouldn't charge a lot of additional fees?

Look For Group Specials

Sometimes, if you buy tickets at the event site, you can avoid some of the charges Ticketmaster charges. For example, in Nashville, we attend the Tennessee Performing Arts Center fairly regularly. If we are able to go to the box office, we don't get all the fees.

If you go as a group, you can sometimes avoid the extra charges. We recently saw Stomp, and because we were part of a group, none of us got the add-ons. Of course, this is not an easily accomplished task for every event, and sometimes you miss out on some other special.

The only other way I've found of avoiding these annoying and expensive charges is when we go as part of a special program for whatever group we're a part of. Tennessee has a cultural program called "HOT" (can't remember what that stands for), which allows not only for reduced prices, but also negates the other charges. This, too, has its drawbacks. You're at the whim of the program organizers, but we have seen several excellent shows for next to nothing.

Buy at the Box Office

The only way I know of to "beat" Ticket Master's outrageous service fee is to buy the tickets from the box office of the venue that is holding the event. I've been trying or years and this seems to be the only solution.

Check Box Office Day of Performance

I've found the easiest way to avoid those horrendous extra fees and charges is to buy directly from the box office. The downside is that most box offices require you to buy the tickets in person, though some may allow you to order them with a credit card and them pick them up the day of the show.

Another box office tip: many venues release unsold tickets the day of the show. Often, these tickets were set aside for corporate sponsors that didn't use them. This is a great way to get into sold out shows at the price of face value tickets.

Understanding Ticketmaster Fees

To explain how to avoid the fees I need to explain the concept behind Ticketmaster and how they provide a service. Ticketmaster has a contract with different venues and concert promoters.

The promoter decides the prices and where in the venue certain price levels fall. Ticketmaster takes this information and creates the event on its system. The venue or promoter does pay for this service as it allows them to reach more people than if they had to go through their own box office.

The charges you are talking about come in three different categories. There is the cash service charge (the original and lowest of them all). This is charged at the Ticketmaster outlet where you walk up, order and receive your ticket all at the same time, the credit service charge (at outlets and over the phone and usually pretty high), and the handling fee.

You are paying the "face value" of the ticket that the promoter has set and they also receive in full and a combination of service charge and handling fees. Ticketmaster provides you a service and in exchange charges you a fee for the use of that service.

To avoid paying the fee you can either purchase the tickets from the box office in person, some also sell tickets over the phone, however some have started charging additional fees themselves. Though normally much lower than the Ticketmaster fee. Or you can go to an outlet and pay in cash, which will allow you to pay the smallest service charge. Sometimes the promoters of the event also sell tickets and that's another thing to look into.

As far as "Ticket Gouging" I really feel that this is unfair to a company that is simply a service provider. If you don't want to pay for the service then get up in the morning, go to the box office, wait in line for a while and purchase your tickets directly from the source. You are paying for the ease of picking up your phone. I don't see that as a "gouge".

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