Ticketmaster Sells Me Useless Parking Pass, Won’t Give Me A Refund

Image courtesy of (Sadat Shami)

Adam recently attended a performance by comedian Kevin Hart in Boston, a city where parking is scarce and expensive. Ticketmaster offered him the opportunity to pay for his parking in advance along with his tickets, and he did. Doing so didn’t simplify his night out, though, since there was no one at the automated garage to accept his parking pass. He paid with a credit card and sought a refund from Ticketmaster later. They wouldn’t give him one, until Consumerist intervened… and also learned how the parking garage really worked.

He wondered how to use a computer printout at a parking garage, and he called the company that was, according to their website, the owner of the garage. They claimed not to own the garage. That was confusing, so Adam contacted Ticketmaster to ask how the prepaid parking worked.

It took a few attempts to get a relevant answer, which may have been an early warning sign. The e-mail response from Ticketmaster was pretty straightforward, explaining the locations of the garage entrances and explaining how the parking passes worked.

“Prepaid parking tickets will be scanned upon entering the garage,” the helpful customer service representative wrote, along with accurate-looking directions to the garage entrance. Excellent.

In hindsight, Adam should have called the venue (TD Garden) directly instead of going right to Ticketmaster: they might have some idea who owns the garage. You know what they say about hindsight, though — you don’t have it when you’re waving a piece of printer paper at an unresponsive automated interface.

Yes, ticketing and payment were completely automated at the garage. “When we arrived at the lot, no employee or signage of any kind was present,” Adam told Consumerist. He and his companion couldn’t figure out how to use the passes, so they paid again to park in the garage that they had already paid for.

There must have been an error or miscommunication between Ticketmaster and the parking garage. Right? Adam contacted Ticketmaster for a refund, and they refused. He finally received this rather condescending response from a customer service representative:

I’m sorry to inform you, but we can not offer you a refund. The event has passed, and it is not on our end you didn’t find the parking lot. There ways to find out information [sic], you could have called the venue to find out about the parking, showed up a little earlier, or drove around till you saw a usher [sic].

Thank you, Ticketmaster representative: Adam will be sure to do that as soon as he builds his time machine so he can go back and attend the show again. It was Ticketmaster that gave Adam bad instructions, and where would they find “a usher” in an unmanned parking garage in the neighborhood surrounding a massive urban sports and entertainment venue?

That was Adam’s last exchange with the company: after that, he turned to Consumerist. We contacted Ticketmaster’s communications department, and we were able to do two things: get his $42 back (event parking in Boston is no joke) and find out what it was that he was supposed to do with the parking pass.

It turns out that the kiosks in the parking garage are able to scan the printout from Ticketmaster, and there’s no human interaction required. That sounds confusing, especially if there isn’t clear signage with instructions. New England Consumerists, maybe don’t bother buying your parking from Ticketmaster when attending events at TD Garden.

“We very seldom receive complaints of this nature, but will certainly work to prevent any future issues – this includes addressing this matter with our customer service staff,” the Ticketmaster representative told Consumerist. She also said that they brought Adam’s complaint back to the venue so everyone can avoid having this issue again in the future.

It’s excellent that Ticketmaster promises to improve the information that employees give out along with the parking passes that they sell. It’s a convenient service (I’ve used it with no problems in the past), but confusing and pricey when it goes wrong, as it did for Adam.