The Other Problem with Ticketmaster

I have a gripe with Ticketmaster.

So, 10am - the presale begins. Woo-hoo, fangirl me with my special membership number logs onto the TM site. Long story short: the system spits out seats (nice ones for Massey Hall: first balcony, second row, centre) and takes me through the entire checkout process. Finally, I click on "Submit Order", only to get a message claiming a processing error. It didn't happen just once, not twice... but SEVEN TIMES.

Once the processing error message comes up, the site instructs me to check the "View Order History" (where I continually get "The information you requested is currently unavailable. Please try again later.") or to contact Customer Service. Nowhere does it say that the transaction has or has not gone through.

It occurs to me I might be purchasing multiple sets of tickets in my frenzy. I decide to call Customer Service.

I hold for over an HOUR. When I get through to Customer Service Rep Paul, he checks my credit card numbers and confirms nothing has been purchased. I ask if there is a system problem and he replies, It's like anything else - if it's busy and too many people are trying to buy, it can't process all the transactions at once. But it's not a problem, it's just busy.

TM adds service charges (one is a "Convenience Charge") to each ticket sold. Hard to believe those charges don't afford a site to adequately handle their user volumes. I question Paul on how that's not a system problem, especially when the site shows buyers the tickets they are supposedly purchasing, takes it back, doesn't confirm either way how the transaction was completed AND an hour on hold to speak to Customer Service.

Paul uses the City for comparison: It's like I want to drive but the City hasn't built enough roads so it's hard to get around.

Ok.... I guess we can consider the "Convenience Charge" to be a tax.

I've applauded Pearl Jam's fight with TM in the past. But let's face it, most of us know that purchasing entertainment tickets means using Ticketmaster and getting dinged by their service charges.

It's time TM stops resting on its laurels and applies some of those "Convenience Charges" to upgrade their site's functionality and Customer Service area. TM's lack of commitment to servicing we, the entertainment-purchasing public held hostage, clearly shows smugness of their ticketing monopoly.

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