Back in February, consumer regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) started a wide-ranging investigation into drip pricing: constantly adding extras during a purchase process so the final price ends up higher than expected or advertised. That campaign has scored a notable result today, with ticket agencies Ticketek and Ticketmaster promising to make their fees clearer to consumers.
Picture: Getty Images/Francois Nel
This doesn't mean ticket charges won't seem ridiculous: why quote a separate booking fee when there's no other way to book anyway? Why charge consumers for the privilege of printing their own tickets? But both agencies have now agreed that they will include the minimum fees that apply to any ticket when they first quote the price.
Payment processing fees will have to be incorporated up front (if there's a choice of options, the price will include the cheapest available option). Any handling or service/delivery fees will have to be quoted as soon as the number of tickets and delivery method are selected.
In other words: you'll still be gouged for tickets, but you'll know how much you're being gouged earlier in the process. They can't all suddenly appear on the payment screen.
The most notorious area for drip pricing is booking airline tickets, where seat selection, insurance, credit card fees and other extras are relentlessly dripped in front of consumers. Back in June, the ACCC took Jetstar and Virgin to court over the practice, a case which is ongoing. Wherever it happens, drip pricing is deeply annoying and we're pleased to see the ACCC kicking some goals in this area.