ACCC Cracks Down On Drip Pricing By Ticketmaster And Ticketek

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.

ACCC


Comments

    Interesting "result" being that both companies have agreed to make it clearer... and have avoided being punished or banned permanently from drip pricing. I'm sure both companies will find a new way to gouge customers.

      The fact that they charge you for an email of your ticket just goes to show you how out of control these two companies are!

        Find that so annoying. IT COSTS THEM NOTHING TO EMAIL ME THE DAMN THINGS

          Well. There is a cost associated with sending an email. Computers and software aren't free.

            then, you work it into the price of a ticket.
            all tickets are processed by computers,

            my brother got charged $12 to have a ticket emailed to him.. seriously? say 20,000 people go (sporting event, movie or whatnot) that is $250,000.
            but these computers and software are used for MANY things, and may different events.

            sports events, concerts, excebitions, musicals... trust me, it doesn't cost that much to send emails out.

              If the prices for email are the same as mailing it, I'd rather get a physical ticket. At least you can sorta get some value out of it in the form of something physical

                ticket was online only.
                we had to print it ourselves... double whammy... maybe we can charge them an ink fee?

              Which is what they should be doing, but to say that there is no cost at all is wrong.

        I've always heard that Ticketmaster/Ticketek are taking the fees on behalf of the event/artist rather than pocketing it all themselves. In this way they are taking the heat and allowing the event to advertise ticket prices that are cheaper.

        But that's the way they make money. If they had to sell tickets without a profit margin, then they wouldn't offer them. TicketTek & Ticketmaster take nothing from the ticket price itself. That's why the few events that have several different providers, all advertise the same price, but additional charges are all different.

    I am sick of all the 'add ons', if they can't be avoided, it just should be part of the price, and that price should be the original price quoted, they can show a breakdown on the checkout screen for anyone that cares.

      I agree. The rule should be the same as for GST (ie advertised price is total ticket price).

      Only if they had a free way of paying for the tickets should they have a separate credit card processing fee.

        There's no credit card fee if you pay with a gift card

    Yes I remember being charged by an airline for an "online booking fee" even though there was no alternate way to buy the tickets.

    Just be thankful we don't live in the US, where $20 tickets can turn into $45 after many different extra fees - they even charge an $8-$11 "convinience fee" for buying online

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