Live Music

Which? calls for crackdown on ‘sneaky’ ticketing fees in the UK

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Which? has called for a crackdown on “sneaky” additional fees on top of live music tickets, after research from the consumer group found that these charges could add up to as much as 25%.

Looking at the fees charged by a range of primary ticketing sites in the UK, Which? found that, typically, they add roughly 20% extra on top of the face value price of a ticket. While fees could be higher or lower than the 20% mark, there was not a significant difference in fees or overall costs between some of the largest ticketing companies.

The practice of revealing fees throughout the buying process is called ‘drip pricing’.

The consumer group still recommended shopping around to save some money, and that even when sites sell tickets for the same event, there was “little consistency with how fees are charged”.

Analysing prices for a concert from artist Anne-Marie at Utilita Arena in Cardiff last November, Which? noted that Eventim, See Tickets and Ticketmaster listed the face value price of the ticket at £45 (€53/$57). However, Eventim charged £11.37 in fees, See Tickets asked for an extra £9.87, and Ticketmaster listed £10.60 in fees.

Which? also noted that while Eventim and Ticketmaster listed a venue or facility fee, See Tickets did not include this.

Breaking it down further, Eventim’s fees included a £1.50 processing fee, £2.50 delivery and transaction fee, a £5.62 booking fee and a £1.75 venue levy. See Tickets charged a £7.37 booking fee, a £1 order processing fee and a £1.50 fulfilment/e-ticket fee. Finally, Ticketmaster’s overall cost included a £6.10 service charge, a £1.75 facility fee and a £2.75 processing fee.

Researchers found that only ticketing app Dice clearly displayed the additional fees at all times, while most ticketing sites included some fees in the upfront price and warned that further charges will be added at checkout.

For example, when purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster, it says on the website that “handling and delivery fees may apply to your order”, while the Eventim platform says “Ticket prices include VAT and booking fee, but excludes a £1.50 order processing fee and delivery & service fees, which range from £2.50 to £15.00”.

Drip pricing could soon be banned under proposals in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill.

The legislation would see it become mandatory for charges to be featured in the upfront price for products and services, including ticketing.