View Full Version : 'Booking fees' and other charges.


M.Mouse
7th Nov 2009, 18:25
I have recently bought (very) expensive tickets to Cirque du Soleil in February and some less expensive tickets in January to see Billy Connolly.

For the Billy Connolly tickets I booked online and the ticket cost was 35 + 4.75 Payment Processing Fee per ticket + a single charge of Delivery Cost/Transaction Fee 1.85. Given that it is often only possible to book tickets online and that the tickets in this case are only available by collection on the day the fees are just a thinly disguised charge to boost profits of the vendor when the online method of booking is entirely automated and costs bugger all once the system has been developed!

The Cirque tickets were 75 each + a 'Web Convenience Fee' of 1.50 each + a single postage fee of 2.00. The postage is reasonable but the 'Web Convenience Fee, although not outrageous is just another ploy to hike the price. It was also interesting to note that 'London Tax' was included in the price and totalled 45.86!

I can accept all sorts of charges if I have the option of buying in person and accept paying for the convenience but it strikes me as wrong that the only choice I have is either pay up or don't buy at all.

Is it just me?

As an aside although Cirque tickets are expensive the last time I saw them it was the most polished, professional and truly amazing show of its type I have ever seen and can recommend it. They are appearing in January and February in London but are almost sold out already.



ZOOKER
7th Nov 2009, 18:37
Good evening and welcome to Rip-Off Britain.

Bruce Wayne
7th Nov 2009, 18:43
It was also interesting to note that 'London Tax' was included in the price and totalled 45.86!


what the f. is 'london tax' was this tax debated in parliament ?

M.Mouse
7th Nov 2009, 18:46
I have just remembered too that a couple of years back I wanted to see Simon and Garfunkel who were touring after many years of not speaking! The UK tickets were some stupid price for an open air concert. I looked on the tour website and saw they were perfomring in Amsterdam. I bought two tickets for their (reasonable) face value and the only extra was 6 euros for postage. They arrived a few days later. We had a weekend in Amsterdam and saw a great concert at the Ajax stadium, all for less than two tickets for the UK gig. Go figure.

Gertrude the Wombat
7th Nov 2009, 19:11
Is it just me?
I actually asked about this, in relation to an organisation in which I am supposed to be in some sort of control and which owns both a venue and a box office, and the box office still finds it necessary to charge a booking fee.

I'm afraid I didn't quite understand the answer. But it's something along the lines of the gig promoters insist on having the same price printed on all tickets (of a given class), no matter how they're sold. The gig promoters then sell these tickets in bulk at these prices to ticket retailers, who have to cover their costs by charging an amount additional to what's printed on the tickets. I think they threw in some bollocks about anti-competition law preventing all ticket retailers for charging the same amount, which would allow the real price to be printed on the ticket, as that would be price fixing.

So, you're only likely to see the real price printed on the ticket (ie no additional "booking fee") if

- the gig promoter,
- the venue owner, and
- the ticket retailer

are all the same person, and they sell 100% of the tickets themselves.

mixture
7th Nov 2009, 19:26
the online method of booking is entirely automated and costs bugger all once the system has been developed!

To say a system costs "bugger all" once developed is a bit of an understatement to say the least. :ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh:

Whether the charges passed on are reflective of actual costs is another matter altogether and one that would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

However, a properly run e-commerce website will be subject to a multitude of costs.

One simple example that you as a consumer can easily relate to is the fact that credit card bookings will attract a processing fee on the seller's merchant account (the value of which varies depending on what card is used and which payment processor the seller uses to settle credit card payments, but there will always be a fee payable).... 3.5% + 15p per transaction is just one example of many I could quote, but obviously busy sites will have negotiated slightly better commercials.

There are also other back-end related items you can't relate so easily to, such as ongoing development costs, infrastructure, internet connectivity, penetration testing etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

How these costs get passed on will depend on business model. Some businesses will do it explicitly, others will simply add margin to the core product.

Sure, there are some economies of scale to be had ... but in the end, it ain't cheap to run a busy e-commerce site.

muppetbum
7th Nov 2009, 22:08
Not just Limited to UK. Over here in the northern colonies, our local theatre group charge $4 for postage .
Bugger that say I , I live within a few hundred yards of the theatre , I'll pick them up . "That'll be $4 box office fee"
Ah but I see you have an option for me to print them myself " err yes , that'll also cost you $4"

frostbite
7th Nov 2009, 22:40
No-one's mentioned Ryanair (yet).

Probably still busy typing up the list.

M.Mouse
8th Nov 2009, 11:42
Gertrude, that is interesting information. If that explanation was more widely promulgated then a 'booking fee' would be a little more palatable. We still have the issue of the fees being wildly variable and often apparently excessive.

mixture, I accept your point that there are costs associated with running an e-commerce website but how would you say they compare with manning a box office?

mixture
8th Nov 2009, 12:37
mixture, I accept your point that there are costs associated with running an e-commerce website but how would you say they compare with manning a box office?

Interesting question.

Not knowing much about the inner workings of the entertainment industry, I probably should say I can't comment fairly.

However, I would hazard a guess that whilst some base costs will remain (card transaction fees, staff costs etc.), a lot more could potentially be outsourced more efficiently(e.g. call centres) or simpler technologies used (e.g. the phone booking systems you encounter when booking cinema tickets).

But then there might be some other costs in the traditional BO setup....

Hmmm.... you've got me thinking now !

I'll go away and mull over it a bit more and come back.... :ok: