David Lister: No booking fees please, Mr Anschutz

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The Independent Online

Theatre-goers, music lovers and sports fans should take an interest in the news that Philip Anschutz and his AEG company are to take on the ticketing agency Ticketmaster with a rival ticketing service, AXS.

Few things frustrate ticket buyers for arts and sports events more than the seemingly arbitrary and ever more imaginatively named charges that are added to the face value of a ticket. Booking fees, postage fees, processing charges, handling charges – all put a spectator in a foul mood even before seeing the event.

Responses to my campaign in this paper against booking fees have shown increasing frustration at the lack of transparency by venues and ticket agencies, and the anomalies such as charging a fee for each ticket rather than for one transaction.

So the stage is set for Mr Anschutz. Already he is promising one departure from current practice – no fee to be charged to customers for printing tickets they purchase online. That's a start.

But please also ensure that your service has real transparency, that it explains what booking fees are for, that it charges per transaction not per ticket, that it does not charge personal callers at a box office. Leave ticket buyers feeling that they have been treated fairly, and you will have set a precedent.