8/21/2010

"Convenience" Fees?

Buying event tickets from anyone other than private buyers is a complete ripoff. But everyone knows this. I bought a ticket to the Redskins first game of the season, a Sunday night game against their hated division rival the Cowboys on September 12, for my brother Chris. He's coming into town to go to the game with the wife and me. It's an annual ritual. Long story short, I was able to purchase a ticket at face value through the teams official Ticketmaster website. But the final transaction price was not the ticket's face value.  You saw this coming. Let me break it down for you. The ticket's face value was $70.40. The team tacked on a whopping $25 FedEx shipping charge! It was the only shipping option. Presumably FedEx's partnership with the Redskins (FedEx owns the stadium's naming rights) is clearly being abused. It's not like the game is tomorrow and I need overnight delivery, the game is three weeks away. They could drop the ticket in the mail and it would get here in plenty of time and for the price of a postage stamp. To add insult to injury, Ticketmaster charged me a $3 "convenience" fee. What the hell is that? On Ticketmaster's FAQ page it states:

[The convenience] fee covers costs that allow Ticketmaster to provide the widest range of available tickets while giving you multiple ways to purchase. Tickets are available in many neighborhoods via local ticket outlet locations, our telephone reservation system and Ticketmaster.com. Tickets can be purchased through at least one distribution channel virtually 24 hours a day. The convenience charge varies by event and is determined by negotiations with arena operators, promoters and others, based on costs for each event.
What a line of crap. In the case of the Redskin's ticket, there was only one venue to purchase the ticket, online. They can shove the convenience fee up their ass. Here's the final breakdown:
Ticket face value = $70.40
FedEx shipping = $25
TM convenience charge = $3
Total Price for 1 Redskins upper level sideline ticket = $98.40
Getting ripped off buying event tickets = EXPECTED!
After all was said and done, I actually got the ticket for a good price. Going rate on StubHub "The Redskin's Official Ticket Reseller" is $200 per ticket. (Don't get me started on StubHub. They are an even bigger ripoff). Trying to buy a Redskins ticket on Craigslist is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It was worth it. We always have a good time going to football games. 
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