Friday, February 22, 2008

StubHub is Flub

Free enterprise is one thing, but sneakiness and lack of transparency are another...

Recently I went online to see if I could buy tickets to take my wife to see the comic stylings of Ricky Gervais, writer of The Office and Extras, our favorite shows. I had a $50 gift card for StubHub and figured I could put it towards this purchase. So far so good.

I entered the StubHub website and found what I was looking for very quickly. Let the record show that the price came out to $78 per seat (for the nosebleed seats... but hey, we've all got a budget to follow!). Let the record also show that this price was already about $25 more than what Ticketmaster was offering for virtually the same seats (I checked there as well to see what they were able to offer). So after comparing the price between the two sites, I began to place my order at StubHub since the gift card would basically even out the lower price of Ticketmaster.


I go through the whole process of signing up, filling in my address, credit card info, the whole shebang, and THEN comes up the final order tally:


That's a far cry from $156... the total of the listed ticket price of $78 x 2.

Without any forewarning, here's what they did... they tacked on a 10% commission of $15.60 and $11.95 in FedEx shipping and handling (because handling two tickets is so much work).

Silly me thought that the original $78 price included a built in commission, and I could understand paying extra for shipping, but not 12 bucks worth. (Note: apparently picking up at the box office or sending via mail were not options, so $12 was the minimum charge. Yay, what a bargain.)

So I backed out of my order and went over to Ticketmaster, another company that irks me with the way they do billing, but it turned out to be a much better deal. For virtually identical seats, I was able to buy the tickets straight up (no added commission, other than Ticketmaster's tacked on charges), and have them simply mailed to me the good ole-fashioned way for $115.45. That's a savings of almost $70, which equates to a real-time savings to me of $20 if I had went with StubHub and used my $50 gift card. Twenty bucks isn't a big difference, but I wasn't about to give StubHub my business after this whole snub.

While I will admit that StubHub does provide a helpful service for people that are looking for hard-to-get tixx, I was not happy with their fees and the fact that I would have been paying more per ticket even though the same basic seats were still available at Ticketmaster. Note that StubHub is offering better seats for the show that Ticketmaster is now out of, also at jacked up seller's prices, but I could at least understand that due to supply and demand. Makes no sense to sell the same tickets for 60% more than you can get 'em elsewhere.

The moral of the story here... you better shop around.

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