Ticketmaster has announced that for some venues, it will begin showing the combined ticket price (actual ticket + service fees) up front, and will allow a short refund window of three days. The company is still loathsome–on their blog, the CEO Nathan Hubbard chummily states that when it comes to service fees, “You don’t like them mostly because you don’t understand what the heck they are for.” But these are still welcome changes to what’s almost always the worst part of attending a live event: dealing with Ticketmaster.
Don’t worry, Ticketmaster isn’t suddenly trying to rehabilitate its image. This just makes good business sense, says Hubbard:
All of the research we’ve done, and all of our conversations with fans like you tell us that the way we present these fees in the check out process is a huge frustration for you and hurts ticket sales. You just want to know UP FRONT in the buying process how much of your hard earned money you are being asked to pay for a given seat. If we are as transparent as possible with you sooner in the purchase process, you can make the decision about how much you want to pay to go to an event. The problem is that historically we haven’t told you how much you have to pay for a given seat until very late in the buying process. And our data tells us this angers many of you to the point that you abandon your purchase once you see the total cost, and that you don’t come back. The data also says (and this is the important piece) that if we had told you up front what the total cost was, you would have bought the ticket! So by perpetuating this antiquated fee presentation, fans are getting upset, while we and our clients are losing ticket sales.
The return policy will only apply to Live Nation Venues. The new ticket price policy should roll out to almost all events in the coming days with the exception of “a select few cases [where] our contracts with venues prevent us from making this change,” and for now at least it won’t include any “per order” fees like shipping charges–you’ll still have to get to the end of the transaction to see those.