The Dutch Consumentenbond has urged other ticket sellers to follow Ticketmaster's lead in agreeing to return service costs along with ticket refunds
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Frontman Robert Smith intervened after fans complained that fees exceeded the cost of some of the tickets themselves for the band's US tour
By James Hanley on 17 Mar 2023
The Cure have persuaded Ticketmaster to offer partial refunds for “unduly high” ticketing fees charged in the Verified Fan sale for the band’s upcoming North American tour.
The firm had come in for criticism during this week’s sale when ticket-holders posted screenshots online showing some fees exceeding the cost of the tickets themselves.
Ticket prices started at $20 (€18.80) as the group wanted the tour “to be affordable for all fans”, but the BBC cited examples such as one customer who bought four $20 tickets ended up paying $172,10 (€161.78), after service fees, a facility charge and an order processing fee were added.
Posting yesterday (16 March) on Twitter, The Cure’s frontman Robert Smith said he was “sickened” by the “debacle”. “To be very clear: the artist has no way to limit them,” he wrote. “I have been asking how they were justified. If I get anything coherent by way of answer I will let you all know.”
However, Smith later reported that, as a “gesture of goodwill”, Ticketmaster had agreed to offer refunds of $5-10.
“After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high, and as a gesture of goodwill have offered a $10 per ticket refund to all Verified Fan accounts for lowest ticket price (‘LTP’) transactions, and a $5 per ticket refund to all Verified Fan accounts for all other ticket price transactions,” says Smith.
“For all Cure shows at all venues; if you already bought a ticket you will get an automatic refund; all tickets on sale tomorrow will incur lower fees.”
“It’s about giving that power back to the artists, making sure they have the right to decide how their tickets are distributed and how their tickets are sold”
The legendary British band begin their first full-scale US and Canada run since 2016 at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center on 10 May. The 30-date tour is due to wrap up at the Miami-Dade Arena in Miami on 1 July.
The group have made tickets for shows non transferable where possible, in an effort to clamp down on touting. In addition, they say that “apart from a few Hollywood Bowl charity seats, there will be no ‘platinum’ or ‘dynamically priced’ tickets” sold.
Last month, Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation launched the Fair Ticketing Act, which says that artists should decide resale rules and calls for industry-wide all-in pricing so fans see the full cost they are paying up front, and has been backed by live giants such as CAA, UTA, Wasserman Music and WME.
LN president and CFO Joe Berchtold discussed the push for ticketing reforms in an interview at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media and Telecom Conference last week.
“It’s about giving that power back to the artists, making sure they have the right to decide how their tickets are distributed and how their tickets are sold,” he said, “and a lot of common sense measures that we understand the scalpers are going to fight against because it goes to the heart of their ability to unfairly get tickets and get between the artist and the fan.
“We’re 100% confident that, as light is shined on this industry, it’s going to really demonstrate that we’ve been doing things on behalf of the artists and we’re continuing to fight in that vein – and I think, ultimately, that wins.”
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