05.Ticketek and Ticketmaster
The Shonky for
Ticket to taking us for a ride goes to... Ticketek and Ticketmaster
We pay a lot to see big international acts in Australia, located as we are, to paraphrase Paul Keating, at the gluteus maximus end of the world. But it’s the issue of the additional ticketing charges that’s so irksome. Take Elton John, for example, touring in November. The cheapest Ticketmaster tickets for the Sydney Entertainment Centre cost $119.90. But add the credit card surcharge of $2.64 and a ‘handling fee’ of $9.50, and you’re looking at $132.04. We guess that’s why they call it the music-fan blues.
But it’s not just Ticketmaster – Ticketek, the other half of the Aussie ticket-sales duopoly, also add on extra charges, including a ‘service/delivery fee' and credit card surcharge. The cheapest Jennifer Lopez tickets at the Rod Laver Arena cost $101.60, with a service/delivery fee ranging from $5.20 to $11.10, depending on how the tickets are delivered, and a credit card surcharge of 1.75% – and no alternative method of online payment. While the service/delivery fee is the same regardless of whether you buy one or 10 tickets, you still have to pay if you print them out yourself. On your own printer. With your own ink and paper. How J Lo can they go?
Unfortunately consumers – and the event managers themselves – have little choice other than to use the Big Two, which have wrapped up exclusive ticketing rights to many venues around the country. Competitors with better pricing and service for consumers are unable to compete without being impeded, and the ACCC’s action against Ticketek last year, which saw them charged with anti-competitive behaviour and fined $2.5m, appears to have had little trickle-down effect in terms of benefits for consumers and probably didn't put much of a dent in their reported $50m profit that year.