Liam Rudden: The great ticket extra fee swindle

Ticket office. Pic: Comp
Ticket office. Pic: Comp
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DUE to the nature of the job I do, it’s not every day I have to buy tickets for a concert or show. Most of the time if I’m in a theatre or concert venue I’m working - never have been a fan of the busman’s holiday.

Despite this, if I’d had a penny for every time someone has told me ‘how lucky’ that makes me, I’d be rolling in it. Saying that to any entertainment writer is like saying to a dentist they’re lucky to get to use a drill, or to a to a train driver how lucky they are to get to drive an engine. It’s just another aspect of the job.

Watching a performance for professional reasons is very different to having a fun night out, mainly because the complimentary press ticket waiting at the box office is no guarantee of quality. Having sat through many downright dodgy productions, I long ago decided that life is too short. Those hours are ones you never get back.

But I digress. The point of this rant are the add ons, the ‘fulfilment charges’, the extras, in short, the rip offs that are hidden from sight when you are handed a press ticket.

Last week, I booked tickets for a concert in London. Now, I might not like it, but I can live with the concept these additional charges cover the costs of an external box office.

They have to make their money somehow. Although it would be preferable if the promoter/producer bore that cost. On second thoughts, they’d probably just factor it into the face value of the ticket.

I even approve of the £1 restoration levy, which helps stop historic venues crumbling to the ground.

The charge that really riles me, however, is this... eavesdrop on the end of my booking experience:

“How would you like your tickets dispatched,£5 for Special Delivery £2.50 for 1st Class?

“Can I collect them at the venue before the gig?”

“Not a problem... although there will still be a £2.50 administration fee for each.” £5 to hand over a pair of tickets! Now that’s just taking the proverbial. It’s time legislation was introduced to stop this currently legal extortion.