What Your Ticketmaster “Order Processing Fee” Is Really Used For

There’s a special place in hell for the people that work at Ticketmaster.

We’ve all been livid about the insane “order processing fees” that are, at times, 20-40% of the actual ticket price tacked on to our totals. If you think such a fee would be fixed and not a percentage of the actual ticket, you’d be wrong. Of course, if you opt to not have your tickets overnighted to you for $15 by a flying gold dragon, then you have a printing fee, or “convenience charge.” What’s that, you say? Ticketmaster charges you to use your own ink and own paper to print tickets.

It made news last week that the band The String Cheese Incident sent their assistants to the Greek Theater to buy tickets for face value directly from the venue so they could then resell them to their fans and avoid the normal fees associated with buying tickets through the internet. This is of course, genius and should be done by more bands that truly care about their fans (I’m talking to you Bono).

So what does Ticketmaster do with that insane, variable “order processing fee” they charge the hard-working public?

  • Dinosaur petting zoo
  • When an employee has a birthday at the company they buy him/ her a cake from each and every bakery in the LA metro area
  • Every female employee gets a brand new and different Vera Wang bridal dress to wear every day for work
  • Company uses gold plated jet skis for use on Lake Cuomo, Italy
  • Weekly donations made directly to the household of the Kardashian family
  • Cloning tiny versions of every Ticketmaster employee’s dog so then their dog can have its own dog, which is a miniature version of itself
  • Complimentary pet psychics
  • Daily concerts in the employee kitchen by Luciano Pavoratti
  • Afternoon grilled cheese with all those really cool expensive cheeses
  • Champagne shampoo
  • That “you must use a brand new macbook every time you write a new email” policy
  • Free iPhone 9s
  • The bathroom attendant is George Clooney
  • Unlimited access to Ryan Seacrest’s sweater collection
  • Hired Victoria’s Secret models to stand in the break room and look at you with silent disdain as you eat vending machine peanut butter crackers
  • The pilates instructor is Richard Simmons after 3 rails of coke
  • Louis Vuitton toilet paper
  • Chauffeured limo service to and from all board meetings down the hall
  • The security guards are all samurais that have time traveled from feudal Japan
  • The building itself is made of one giant Coach purse
  • Morgan Freeman will return all the phone calls you’ve been ignoring from your mom
  • The walls of your cubicle are all trained zombie versions of the Beatles
  • Free plane rides to Rome for lunch
  • Hover swivel chairs

So you see, Ticketmaster desperately needs your money to keep its office up and running. Your hard earned dollars all go to a very charitable cause. They are truly doing the Lord’s work over there.

Thank you Ticketmaster, thank you for saving us. Please enjoy your peanut butter crackers. TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680513758 Sebastian Antunez

     I know the fees are insane. But how can a company subsist? Really. They provide online tickets, they NEED to charge a fee. Would it be better if it was hidden?

    • http://hydeparkblvd.wordpress.com Allison Berger

      hey man, TicketLeap subsists just fine (their fees are $1 if the ticket is $10 or less and $2 if the ticket is $10 or more). it can be done.

    • http://twitter.com/jalbus Jalbus

      it’s called a monopoly. back in saner times, there were laws to protect people against such things. cuz, generally, when you control an entire market, you use your powers for general shittiness, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it because they’re at your mercy. we know better now, though.

  • Saadz2k5

    fair enough

  • http://twitter.com/laurajaynemart laura jayne martin

    That dog line is hilarious! Also, I hope the “sell your own tickets”  strategy you suggest is adopted by my three favourite bands: Dinosaur Petting Zoo, Champagne Shampoo, and Hover Swivel Chairs.

  • Reader

    As someone who works at TM, this is just stupid and immature. 
    Drag your lazy ass to the box office if you don’t want to pay the online fees.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MHV2BWB5OXW5HGFTNLRGWIEK2U StsitramA


    • Megan

      Many venues can’t (because of exclusivity contract with TM) sell their own tickets. So, that makes the whole “buy them at the box office” thing a little difficult, right?

      • Reader

        That’s actually not true at all.  Venues can sell their own tickets at a walk-up box office as part of their Ticketmaster contract.   Many venues have decided not to because they make more money off of tickets sold through Ticketmaster channels.  So, that would be the venue’s fault, not Ticketmaster’s.

  • Rishtopher

    I used to work at TM a couple of years ago and I know that the fees are ridiculous, but they all do something.

    The convenience charge is to make profit, since the ticket price goes to the performers, venue, etc. The order processing fee (as it was explained to me) is to ensure that some profit is made if the show gets cancelled or refunded. I was also told that it payed the printer to print the tickets. 

    When I was working there, despite all the charges on top of the ticket prices, I was always told we were still losing money. Admittedly, the charges were way higher in the States then they were for Canadians (in my opinion) but Americans seemed to be more complacent with the idea of surcharges for some reason. 

    My customers would always ask what they could do to avoid the charges and I’d just tell them that 90% of the time, you could just go to the venue (the other 10% is for when the venue didn’t have a box office, as was the case for small shows). Once I told them that though, a lot of them would buy through us because they didn’t want to have to commute to get there (the box office hours are really inconvenient most of the time).

    The $14/15 is for courier, which is exactly what it means (at least in Canada), it costs the same to courier something via Canada Post, which is how we’d do it. Standard mail is free, and if you’re worried that they won’t arrive, you can have them wait for you at the box office (which is also what happens if they somehow get lost in the mail). 

    The one fee that I could never explain was TicketFast, which was either $1.75 or $2.50, depending on the event. I could never justify paying for a PDF to be emailed to you when you could get mail for free… 

    Full disclosure: for some events TF was free, but keep in mind that I used to work there a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if they still do all these fees for the reasons that I listed since I never go out to concerts/shows, and when I do, I go to the box office. This was even when I was working there, partially because nothing interested me and also because I had to place an order on credit card to get tickets without the fees through TM.

    Despite how I felt about their practices, I really liked working at TM. I worked in the call centre and a lot of the customers that called in were pretty nice, even when they were angry. Plus, I got to listen to stories from people all around the world, some were hilarious and inspiring and some were really sad.

    I didn’t expect to write this much but thanks for writing this article. Reflecting on my time there was actually pretty cool.

  • Surfer

    Yawnnnnnn…heard this before.   You obviously know nothing about the ticketing business.  In most cases, TM gets a very small percentage of these fees.  Most go to the promoter and the venue.  TM has to make at least a little money off of each ticket.  If you don’t want to pay the extra fees, then head to the venue box office, douchebag.

    • a.

      If it was always an option to buy straight from the venue, I would. However with most popular concerts, that’s not an option. If I tried to buy tickets directly from the box office every time I wanted to see a band in LA, I’d never go to another show. Tickets sell out in pre-sale and immediately after going on-sale online, and there typically aren’t extras for the box office.

    • Megan

      I keep reading this “then go to the box office” thing – but a LOT of venues don’t (because they are too small), won’t (because they wouldn’t sell enough to pay the wage of whoever staffed it) or can’t (because of exclusivity contracts with TM) sell their own tickets. So, that makes the whole “buy them at the box office” thing a little difficult, right? I have no problem with TM charging me for tix – they are a company and they have to make $, I get it. My issue is with the idea that I have been charged $5, $10, even $15 in TM fees… when the original price of the ticket is $25 or less… and I had no other option. 

  • Serena

    ticketmaster doesn’t need to exist in the first place. lots of artists and venues sell tickets for their shows directly and get by fine.  i have a real hate for unnecessary middlemen. down with ticketmaster!

    • Tommy

      that….is retarded. The amount of transactions Ticketmaster makes on a given day is incomparable to any single band, venue, or whatever you may be alluding to.

      Best example, Dave Matthews Band. Coran Capshaw started them off strong by selling tickets only through the DMB site. However, 40+ shows in a summer with at least 20,000 people at each one may be a bit too much for the DMB page to handle.

      It’s business. They’re damn good at it. We’re still buying tickets from them. End of story.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MHV2BWB5OXW5HGFTNLRGWIEK2U StsitramA

    Error. It’s Luciano Pavarotti, not Luciano Pavoratti.

    Funny article, anyhoo.

  • TMworker

    haha! i’m a call centre pig at ticketmaster – i’m also a millionaire obviously.

  • Joe

    Omg, DYING. This article made me laugh like a crazy fool at work. 

  • E$

    This article is just wrong.  The venue decides on all fees charged to you.  Ticketmaster is simply hired/contracted by the venue to handle their ticketing needs.  Ticketfast, order processing, and service charges are instituted by the venue’s box office.  Your real gripe should be with your favorite concert venues not finding a way to have their own ticketing system and being too lazy contracting the job out to Ticketmaster.  Do some research.

    • huh

      huh, while venue fees are decided by venue, the actual service charge idoes go to ticketmaster. whom i dont really have a problem with.
      people cant handle paying for any service. i work at a record store that sells hundreds of concert tickets so peeps will actually come inside a record store and i hear sooo much complaining about our $1-3 service charge.
      we do work to take care of all those tickets! our service charge actually barely begins to cover the cost of selling and maintaining the tickets.
      but everyone wants the service for free.
      so i have more sympathy for TM now.

  • http://gravatar.com/waicool waicool

    ticketslaves serve their ticketmaster

  • http://gravatar.com/ptannenbaum ptannenbaum

    I have yet to see a comment in Ticket Masters Defense that answers the question of why the pricing is so high and is dynamic. I would expect processing fees to be a flat fee regardless of ticket price, and the fact that a ticket master service fee can be 50% the cost of a tickets face value is absurd. I bought tickets for Cochella and the fees were around $75 per ticket, which is extremely high for an automated web service. No one is against a company making money for providing a service, but there is a difference between gouging users because there is no other reasonable option and charging a reasonable fee for the service you are providing. TM merging with Live Nation created a monopoly in the live entertainment industry, and I wish that the federal government would step in and do something about it.

  • Amlan

    Just go to stubhub!

  • http://www.ticketbud.com Ticketbud Community

    As long as the money is going to Dinosaur petting zoo, then it is all OK!.

  • http://chrisbackley.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/what-your-ticketmaster-order-processing-fee-is-really/ What Your Ticketmaster “Order Processing” Fee Is Really Used For | Chris Backley

    […] (We’ve all been livid about the “order processing fee” tacked on by Ticketmaster but what is it actually used for? As seen on the Thought Catalog. […]

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on Rockin' the suburbs and commented:
    The only thing that is missing here is hovercrafts that they use to play tag with.

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