Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bait and Switch

I just completed an order for Dave Mattews Band tickets for my sons with LiveNation.
In a direct statement, their marketing sucks.
When you browse for tickets they bait you with “ticket prices” of $60.50.  Much better than I expected to pay.  Then, when you get to the check out page you find that fees have bumped the price to $85.25 each.  Here are the verbose explanations offered on the site;
  • Ticket $60.50
  • Ticket fee $15.25
  • Parking fee $7.50
  • Charity fee $2
Total cost, $85.25 per seat.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think $85.25 is particularly unreasonable for a band with such a rabid fan base and high demand for seats in their concerts.  However, I do think that it’s outrageous that you offer something to your customers at one price and then jack it up an additional 40% before allowing them to purchase the item.  Apparently they see this as “saving me money” and “letting me know exactly what I’m paying for”  Well, I don’t ask Dave to break down the $60.50 so I know how much the guy who loads the drum kit is taking home, so why do I care how much the venue gets (that’s the $7.50 “parking fee” – nevermind that we’ve only got one car making the trip, perhaps we should drive three to get better value for our money?) or how much LiveNation gets (that’s the $15.25 “ticket fee” – which the pixie on the phone explained was used to keep the website running and provide me with “customer service” (cough.)  I think I’ll spend a good bit of time calling  (888) 598-4299 and (800) 431-3462 over the coming months so I can get my $45.75 worth of customer service from them. 
If it’s going to cost me $85.25 to see the concert then don’t tell me that seats are $60.50, because they are most definitely NOT going to let me in the gate for $60.50.  Tell me UP FRONT (and by that I mean in the seat selection process, not the checkout process) what the bottom line is going to be and I’ll make my decision accordingly.  Giving me one price only to tell me I have to pay something drastically different to see the show is outrageous.