We recently visited Bend, Oregon, and, while there, we were pleasantly surprised that a Bob Dylan concert was happening on August 27, 2010 at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in town. The general admission tickets were available at a price of $48.50, with this price published in several papers, as well as on the website. The announcement stated that tickets could be purchased over the web as well as at the local ticket office in the Mill District, adjacent to the amphitheater. We mentioned this concert to our friends (handicapped and in their 60s) living in Albany, Oregon. Since Bend was such a small town (we live in Los Angeles), my wife offered to drive the five minutes to the ticket booth to save the Ticketmaster charges ($8.50 per ticket = $34 for 4 tickets), which to us retirees represents a hefty sum.
To our surprise, the Ticketmaster charges were imposed on our bill, in spite of our deciding to forego their services. This pilfering is completely unacceptable! It has always been our understanding (and, those of myriad customers) that the purpose of Ticketmaster is to provide a service that saves the purchaser the time and effort of going to a venue to purchase tickets in advance of an event - and, instead, enables one to purchase the tickets over the phone or through the Internet from the convenience of their home. Since the customer is well aware of this convenience, it is to their discretion to use this service and pay for it. However, for those who drive to the ticket booth and accept the "inconvenience" of physically going to the location of the event days before it is to be held, the savings of $34 for our tickets is a reasonable thing to do, given how short a drive it is.
The kind lady at the ticket booth agreed with us about how unfair such business practices are, and, furthermore, told us that she receives such complaints on a regular basis. Her only "justification" for the charge is that Ticketmaster is handling the sales of the tickets. She also was frustrated that these caveats do not appear in any publications, the printed price is given as $48.50 without any mention of such ridiculous charges for nothing. This has made her job very uncomfortable, having to mention such a lame Ticketmaster justification time after time.
In all my experiences over the past 30 years of attending various events that involve Ticketmaster, we have never encountered such bogus charges, lack of disclosure, bilking and deception of the general public. Ticketmaster has always been a choice to provide a useful service for those who find an additional trip to the venue just to purchase tickets. However, if Ticketmaster's convenience is not sought, it is unfair practice to somehow manipulate matters to bilk the public to forking over hard-earned money for nothing.
Please note that this complaint, in no way, construes or implies any negative opinion regarding the kind woman who worked that day in the ticket booth. In our opinion, she was courteous, kind, understanding and, in spite of so many (justifiable) complaints, was very cordial. She was simply doing her job. Hopefully, Ticketmaster will rectify their unethical practice so that their employees can do their job under conditions that are fair and appropriate to those who choose to spend their discretionary funds for various performances.
- David Pepper, Los Angeles, CA