Damon at Ticketfly sent a prompt response to my open letter about paying $8.75 in service charges on a $20 ticket. Here is Damon’s response, and my reply.
Thank you for writing in and giving us the opportunity to answer your questions.
Ticketfly provides a service, for a fee. Ordering through Ticketfly couldn’t be easier and you can do it from the comfort of your home or office!
Tickets purchased on Ticketfly.com are typically subject to a per ticket convenience charge and a non-refundable per order processing fee. In many cases, delivery prices will also be owed.
As we do not collect any of the ticket face value, we use the fee to pay for hardware, employees, training and so on. Basically, the fee is what keeps us running. If you wish to avoid paying the service fee, please contact the venue or promoter of the event to see if they offer tickets directly. This also explains your comparison to companies like Amazon. They do, in fact almost every “retail” outlet, charge a fee. For them it’s called “Mark Up”. Because they own the product they are selling, that mark up is where they get the money to pay their employees, train their staff, pay their rent and so on.
Ticketfly does not claim to be the cheapest ticketing alternative, but we are striving to be the better ticketing alternative.
Please do let me know if you have any other questions.
Damon @ Ticketfly
Thanks for the prompt reply, and for explaining what the service fees pay for.
However, this doesn’t answer all of my questions.
True, Ticketfly does not claim to be the cheapest ticketing alternative. But as I quoted in my first email, the company clearly recognizes that people are frustrated with ticketing services (citing “downright absurd” practices) and makes claims to being different (“We plan to get rid of all those hidden fees”).
1. Why does the site talk about killing hidden fees if you still charge those fees?
2. What are some examples of “downright absurd” ticketing practices that Ticketfly does not engage in?
3. What does being a “better ticketing alternative” mean if you charge similar fees as other ticketing companies — fees that are by far the most frustrating thing about buying tickets?
Further, you say that “Ticketfly provides a service, for a fee” — i.e., letting consumers buy tickets “from the comfort of your home or office.” But there are thousands upon thousands of e-commerce websites that provide the same service — letting consumers buy something online — without charging “service” or “convenience” fees on top of the product price. (Of course, in many cases it’s *cheaper* to buy something online versus by phone or in a store.) The vast majority of these sites also have various hardware and overhead costs, but still don’t tack on extra fees.
4. How is Ticketfly’s business (or the ticketing business in general) so different from nearly all other online businesses that the company has to charge consumers this fee?