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30 March 2006

The Great Mystery of Online Ticket Purchase

How would you like it if you went into your favourite supermarket and then were charged 10% admin fee on top of the shelf price to take your goods home? OK, silly question really. Even if the shelf price said there was a 10% fee. Still just as silly.

So why does noone complain about the same silly practice when you buy tickets online? You go to the SECC site, you see the ticket prices and then when you go to buy them there's a 10% mandatory admin fee. What value is this to the consumer? If the admin fee is mandatory would it not be a lot simpler all round if it was just incorporated into the ticket price to start with? Noone is denying the venue a fair living, but why make it complicated for the consumer?

I found another site (not the SECC) which indulged in this practice of last minute mandatory surcharges on tickets and informed trading standards about it. The response was

I am the officer assigned to investigate your complaint. I have viewed the site and as a result have concerns about the pricing methods used on the site.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is quite specific concerning additional charges made once a price has been displayed. Consumers should not be given price indications, which subsequently increase when they try to pay for the goods or services. It is my intention to pass details of this issue to the Trading Standards office based near xxxx's head office. That office should then be able to raise this matter with xxxx on my behalf.

Good. Maybe a few other sites could pay attention? Simple pricing works best.
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