Worst Company In America: Ticketmaster VS Time Warner Cable

A cable company moving toward metered broadband — or the master of concert tickets… you make the call.

It’s Ticketmaster VS Time Warner Cable:

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2009 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers, and seeded according to number of nominations. Keep track of all the goings on at consumerist.com/tag/worst-company-in-america. Download the bracket here.


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  1. Tyler Durden's Imaginary Friend says:

    List the seed values please.

  2. citking says:

    Anyone else not seeing images on the main page for posts made today?

  3. klwillis45 says:

    Pure monopoly beats Semi-monopoly

  4. Keanon Liggatt says:

    These initial horrible-offs are no-brainers.

    • courtarro says:

      @Keanon Liggatt: That’s normal for the first round, when you’ve got top seeds mowing down the lower seeds. You wouldn’t want two heavyweights like Comcast and Ticketmaster pitted against each other in the first round, would you?

      • Todd Fernandez says:

        @courtarro: Yeah…

        the only bummer is that second round has AIG versus Peanut Corp. I mean actively destroying the countries economy and killing people. that seems like at least a final four matchup to me.

        • failurate says:

          @Todd Fernandez: They need to change the way they do the seeding. Now it is just who gets the most nominations. Next year, hopefully they put some actual thought into it.

  5. cristiana says:

    This is a hard one, both companies have screwed me in some way. Both are sort of monopolies, so, if you are in their realm, you have no way of avoiding them. But, I think I am going to have to tip my hat to Ticketmaster, because TWC does more than collect fees.

    • cabjf says:

      @cristiana: Yeah, I agree. At least Time Warner provides services. They may charge way too much and be about to become much more evil (with their capped internet tiers), but Ticketmaster is just a glorified ticket scalper.

    • vastrightwing says:

      @cristiana: Same logic I used. I can avoid TWC, but Ticket Master has a near monolopy on events. (I also avoid going to events to avoid the nasty fees). This is why I hate Ticket Master more.

  6. logicalnoise says:

    time warner= oppritunistic ISP that still shows custoemrs some occasional respect/

    ticketmaster= monopolistic bribing shading scumbag and bain of the music industry(if you’re a consumer).


  7. SuperRad says:

    Ticketmaster is the only company who can turn a 35 dollar ticket into a 60 dollar ticket.

    • Suttin says:


      Well duh, they are the only major ticket company.

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        @Suttin: Actually Tickets.com is anoher major ticketing company. They still charge fees, but equal to 18.5% of the original ticket cost. Ticketbastard charges, convenience charge, handling fee, ticketfast print your own tickets at home, venue facility fee, etc. are way more over the top.

        • Southern says:

          @Cat_In_A_Hat: Actually Tickets.com is anoher major ticketing company. They still charge fees, but equal to 18.5% of the original ticket cost.

          I’ll have to check them out.. I’d still be annoyed at paying a 20% Fee for a ticket, tho. There SHOULD be a way to buy tickets at face value.

    • thisotherguy says:

      @SuperRad: More like a 35 dollar ticket into a 60 dollar ticket being scalped (by a partner) for 350 dollars

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    Every time Ticketmaster does something scammy, they write a letter of apology then keep on doing it.

    But concerts are not a real necessity in life whereas internet has become like the telephone, something that is hard to do without. So metered broadband is high up on my list of bad business decisions.

    This is a nice pairing, I’m having trouble deciding.

    • Mentalpyro says:

      @Blueskylaw: you just stated my reasons for picking Timewarner. Internet is way more necessary then concerts. No offense meant to concert folk. Also TicketMaster can’t charge you an overage if the band plays an extra encore. “you listened to the music more than the average person and went over you cap, pay up!”

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @Blueskylaw: Exactly why I picked Time Warner.

  9. noone1569 says:

    Oh thats a difficult one. They both super suck!

    Hmm . . .ticketmaster because of the damned monopoly keeps me from attending mainstream concerts.

    I refuse to pay 39$ for a 25$ ticket.

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Ticketmaster. At least with Time Warner Cable, if you move, you might escape its grasp. But wherever you move to, Ticketmaster will still be one of the only ways you can purchase tickets. It is far-reaching and ever so present, ready to take your money and sanity.

    • Sndtrkman says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • veronykah says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: When I saw them matched, I thought “tough decision”. Your post made my decison, I have TWC now but am moving and getting rid of them ASAP. Ticketmaster? I don’t get to see shows I want to see because I REFUSE to use them and they aren’t avoidable most of the time.

  11. Preyfar says:

    Ticketmaster/TicketsNow, NO DOUBT. I still haven’t gotten a refund. :|

  12. johnva says:

    Why exactly is Ticketmaster even popular with venues/concert promoters at all? It seems to me like if the people selling the tickets would just sell them directly themselves, instead of contracting with Ticketmaster, they could sell them for much cheaper and yet make more profit.

    • noone1569 says:

      @johnva: Its not, it is popular with the labels that sign said artists because they do get a substantial kickback from TM to allow TM/Live Nation to promote and feature their artist . . .its all crap.

      • johnva says:

        @noone1569: Seems like a great target for antitrust enforcement.

        • LandruBek says:

          @johnva: Antitrust enforcement? To quote Alberto Gonzales: how quaint.

          (Sorry for the Bush administration flashback. Even with a new administration, I don’t forsee much antitrust action anytime soon, in this economy.)

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @johnva: I’m pessimistic for the same reasons that the radio bandwidth was allowed to be bought up, lock and barrel, by Clear Channel.
          Old people don’t like music. Old people don’t go to concerts. Old people don’t listen to radio to find new act. And Congress is teeming with old people.
          On the bright side, those darned kids will stay off of Congress’ lawn.

    • Framling says:

      @johnva: There are a few reasons TicketMaster gets used at all. None of them have to do with the quality of the service they provide.

      For one thing, TM likes to lock producers and venues into exclusivity agreements. Even if a producer for a show doesn’t want to use TM, oftentimes, they have no choice because the venue is locked in.

      TM also likes to kick back a portion of the fees to producers and venues. So when a venue or producer looks at an independent ticketing agency that doesn’t do that, they feel like they’re getting a worse deal, even if the ticketing agency is taking less money overall for fees and giving everyone a better deal. There are a lot of producers that literally cannot understand not doing it this way.

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    I pray for a pop-up (now that Consumerist is a phisher) that queries before the vote, “Like, have you been to a live music event? Ever?!“, and “Yes” has to be chosen before the vote is counted.
    Since most people saying, “Don’t like Ticketmaster’s horrible, monopolistic, pillaging ways? Then don’t go!” will be the ones not voting for Ticketmaster.

    • ARP says:

      @Trai_Dep: It is an option, just not a realistic one. I could LIVE without electricity, but I don’t think that’s a realistic view either.

    • veronykah says:

      @Trai_Dep: I DON’T go, but I stll voted for them. That’s the REASON I voted for Ticketmaster. I love going to shows but refuse to buy into their bullshit pricing.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    And, I miss the mini-recaps of the contenders. Not LOTS, mind, but a couple sentences explaining why. Sort of like vengeful, spiteful, hateful haiku. But all for the greater good.

  15. Dan Stirling says:

    I’ve actually had pretty decent service from TWC, although it doesn’t surprise me that others have had problems. TM is the embodiment of monopolistic evil.

  16. Southern says:

    Ticketmaster. No contest.

    IMO, there’s no contest for TM against any other company, either.. They are the most despicable company I’ve ever had the displeasure of doing business with.

  17. JulesNoctambule says:

    I loathe Time Warner, but there’s always the chance another company could move into our area and break their monopoly. Ticketmaster is an evil without decent market competition and they know it.

  18. wcnghj says:

    Ticketmaster all the way!

    $2 print at home fee(real)

    .99 paper fee
    .75 additional processing fee
    .99 good seat fee
    $4 fee processing fee

    • You Cannot Untoast says:

      @wcnghj: You get a paper fee on top of “print at home”?

      Sweet Jaysus.

      • sabrinad says:

        @You Cannot Untoast: Oh yes. The delivery choices offered are “print the PDF at home” for $2.50, have it mailed to you (free, but maybe not an option depending on timeframe), have it overnighted, etc. I believe there’s a couple-dollar charge for using will-call, even.

        I picked up a $26 ticket for a show tonight, and after processing it was $46: a $9 “convenience charge,” $2.50 “building facility charge,” a $5.55 “order processing charge,” $2.50 “TicketFast” (the PDF option) charge, and $0.45 in taxes. Seriously, it’s a sad day when Chicago entertainment taxes are the tiniest of the extra charges. (Dear Mayor Daley and Todd Stroger: Please do not interpret this as a reason to raise our taxes again, plskthx.)

  19. kenbennedy says:

    I miss the comment/headline samples that were given below the image/poll last year to give us examples of why each company deserves to lose…

  20. NICU says:

    Oh come on! Time Warner is much worse – you go on the internet and watch TV way more than you buy tickets. Time Warner wants to add bandwidth caps, overage charges, and they increase prices every year.

    • Southern says:

      @NICU: Yes, but there are alternatives.. There’s satellite (Dish Network, Direct-TV, etc), FIOS & uVerse (if you’re within the market areas, etc).. They are NO alternatives to TicketMaster (at least as far as I’m aware)..

      • ivanthemute says:

        @Southern: And hell, TWC isn’t even all that bad everywhere. I’m in the SC footprint, and I don’t have any issues. Now when I was outside Syracuse…gah!

        Oh, and Ticketmaster can suck my nuts.

    • Raiders757 says:


      Ticketmaster lets ticket brokers buy up all the best seats before the average consumer can. Add that to unfair fees, and almost being a monopoly, they win hands down. That’s just the tip of the ice burg as well.

  21. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I think I have to abstain from this vote. I’ve had zero experience with these companies and the arguments for both are very good.

  22. Konman72 says:

    $13.50 for the tickets
    +$6.50 in fees (would have been more but I chose to wait for them through snail mail)
    =A vote for Ticketmaster

  23. theblackdog says:

    Ticketmaster is going to run away with this round, especially when you pay a handling fee to print a ticket from your printer.

  24. allstarecho says:

    Again with the “rigging” when there’s such an obvious clear-cut company that’s going to “win”. Now if you’d have matched Time Warner Cable against Comcast, that would have been a fair pairing.

    • failurate says:

      @allstarecho: It makes sense that you have the Ole Miss Rebel as your icon and don’t understand how first round tournament match-ups work.

      • allstarecho says:

        @failurate: seeding would make sense if this was an actual athletic competition but it’s not. It’s based off of which company has had the shitty-est Consumerist coverage since the last “Worst Company in America” contest. It’s not so obvious that Buffalo was a good football team last season and could beat just about any other college team. It is obvious that Ticketmaster sucks and is evil incarnate, even against Time Warner Cable. This isn’t just apples and oranges.

  25. KHook321 says:

    Ticketmaster! You should not have to pay $40 in fees to buy freakin’ concert tickets. And said tickets should not be the junk in the back of the venue while all the good tickets go to expensive VIP packages and Ticketmaster’s own alternate buying website.

  26. eddie9999 says:

    Comcast – cable with 4 channels I actually like, shitty customer service, average pricing package of about $99/month, caps on broadband – I think we have a winner

    I don’t give a toss about Ticketmaster. If I really want to go to a concert (that is rare) I will pay about any price to do that.

  27. David Delony says:

    I bet if time travel was ever invented Ticketmaster would make a killing selling tickets for concerts in the past. Imagine paying $600+ to see Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett!

  28. chris_l says:

    TicketMaster is a far shittier company, but Time Warner provides a far more important service that they suck at. Whether today or 20 years from now, you could easily live without going to a concert. But to get raped with overage fees on your 5GB a month limit with internet? Not so much.

  29. wesa says:

    This is so mean to put these two head to head so early in.

  30. AceKicker says:

    I hope Ticketmaster makes it well up the bracket. I don’t think it’ll win outright, but it would be glorious if it hit the Final Four.

  31. failurate says:

    For Ticketmaster, if they priced their tickets at the final total amount instead of ticket amount + fees, would you still buy the tickets?

    So, instead of a $25 ticket + $20 in fees, they simply sold a $45 ticket, would you buy the $45 ticket and be happy?

    Is this just irritation at price structuring, and not so much about the actual service they provide?

  32. aftercancer says:

    I have to agree with NICU. Ticketmaster may suck but how often are you dealing with them. Time Warner wants to screw with my internet that I am already paying for…far worse!

    • Xay says:

      @aftercancer: I’ve lived in several different states and I have never lived in a Time Warner Cable market. But Ticketmaster was always there to screw me over on event tickets.

  33. Sparkstalker says:

    Time Warner’s got to win this one. Ticketmaster is scummy, no doubt, but they aren’t actively trying to destroy digital distribution to protect their market.

    TW, on the other hand, is setting up a business model, that, if successful (in terms of profit for them), will only encourage the other broadband providers to follow in their footsteps…

  34. groale says:

    I hope your got SIRIUS in an upcoming round. Went to listen to the Lakers game last night and could not find it. Called from my car and they tell me that the NBA has been moved to the “Best of XM” package and if I upgrade for $4.95/mo. I can listen to the game. I told her I have a one year subscription which they make you pay in advance and it does not expire until June so either turn on the game before its over or refund me for the months I paid for channels which they have removed. She asked me to hold for a moment and I spent the next 41 minutes on hold until finally my cell phone lost reception and the call was disconnected.
    This after calling two weeks ago to terminate service on wife’s unit (bi-yearly subscription) and they begged me to stay, dropping the price to just $16 if I renewed.
    Calling today to see if I get a refund if I cancel everything right now. Was a good service but since merger quality is down, I hear songs repeated on the same channel the same day and now they are trying to double bill me for something I already paid for.

  35. crichton007 says:

    I think that nearly all cable companies are evil but I really have to go with Ticketmaster with this one.

  36. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    Both are awful.

  37. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Ticketmaster, if only for the fact that they beat a sympathetic Pearl Jam at arguably the band’s peak in popularity.

    Still bitter.

  38. banmojo says:

    At least TWC actually DOES something for us, even if their prices/service are jacked up. TM is an unnecessary middleman that encourages scalping tickets. Fvck ’em

  39. TerribleDecade says:

    I personally don’t care. Both are cruddy companies that offer services that I don’t need nor want. Hell, Ticketmaster for being scalpers.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I must respectfully disagree with the consensus.

    I can’t even remember why I hate TWC, since now I have Comcast.

    But the difference here is, I don’t ever HAVE to purchase tickets. I have to have internet come to my house.

    In spite of their evils, TM is supplementary to life.

  41. Skater009 says:

    Those F**** are the worst . by far – Overpriced

  42. MsAnthropy says:

    Ticketbastard, although I hate Time Warner almost as much.

  43. skywatchbob says:

    Ticket master is evil. They take over ticket sales of many concerts and charge an exorbitant fee on top of ticket prices that wasn’t there before they came along. By the way, all ticket brokers are evil. Another tactic is to buy up all tickets and sell at inflated prices with a big fee on top of that. They could go away and concert prices would drop to more reasonable rates. They add no value.

  44. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Ooo, tough choice.

    We’re new to Time Warner and they’re way less evil than Cox was to us. But they keep playing sillybuggers in terms of moving basic channels to the digital tier to try to force customers to move up. And here in Austin, they recently pulled this with the second PBS channel, with which they have an exclusive contract so I can’t switch to a competitor to get it. Screwing PBS is pretty nasty, and taking away my kid’s favourite shows pisses me off something fierce.

    But Ticketmaster is pretty much the reason I don’t go to concerts anymore unless they’re smaller ones that don’t go through TM. They hose you on fees all over the place then don’t deliver on what you’ve paid for. I once bought tickets online and paid extra to have them mailed out to me so I’d have them in advance of the event, only to not have them show up so when I called, they said, “Oh, we decided not to send out any tickets by mail for that event. You’ll have to pick them up at the window.” When I said I wanted a refund for the extra money I’d paid for them to be shipped, they said no, that when I paid, they were going to send them out, but a few days later they posted a notice that they weren’t going to, so in their minds that meant that I shouldn’t have paid the extra and it was my own fault.

    If I’d known about the Consumerist at the time (was it even around 6 years ago?) I would have come here to complain, but instead sucked up my few dollar loss and resolved never to do TM again.

    Plus the bastards won’t take me off their mailing list no matter how often I attempt to unsubscribe.

    Okay, TM it is. TW is sucky but haven’t actually stolen my money.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Tough call: which is worse: gross incompetence or true evil? Both these companies suck, but maybe an edge to Ticketmaster: Time Warner is hugely incompetent, but Tickemaster is thoroughly evil.