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Hedge-blog: high ticket prices for Tour Team Presentation

24th April 2014

An article yesterday in road.cc, reporting on the 'outrageous' ticket prices for the Tour Team Presentation, attracted a lot of comments below the line.

The Team Presentation is taking place in the Leeds Arena on Thursday 3rd July 2014, and the article reported that the ticket prices are from £45 to £85. In previous editions of the Tour, the Team Presentation has been free.

There was a mixed reaction from road.cc's commenters, but most people seem to think the prices are high. However, it turns out that the prices published by Welcome to Yorkshire are not even the real prices.

The headline prices are £45, £55, £65, and £85. When you click through to the ticket company, eventim.co.uk, the prices are actually £50.75, £61.75, and £72.75. (At the time of writing, the most expensive tickets are not on sale). This is because there is a 'booking fee'. For example, for the £55 tickets, the fee is £6.75.

I don't agree with adding on booking fees. When you publish prices, they should be the prices, not the prices less a bit, to mislead people. It might be different if the booking fee was optional - if there was any way to avoid it. But there isn't.

People who regularly attend concerts or festivals may be used to booking fees, but even if it's standard industry practice, that doesn't make it right. It doesn't make any difference to the purchaser of a ticket how the cost breaks down. I don't care what proportion of the ticket cost is attributable to booking it, or to the cost of the paper, or the ink. I just want to be told honestly how much the ticket costs in total - by which I mean, how much money is going to come out of my bank account.

If I buy a packet of crisps and some bananas at Morrisons, I don't want to get to the till, and find out that the prices on the labels exclude an element for the cashier's salary. When I buy petrol, I'd be shocked to be told I have to pay extra to cover maintenance of the pump. Nobody else does this, with the possible exception of the budget airlines, and they're hardly a good example to follow.

What makes it worse is that I'm being charged a booking fee, but it was me who did all the bloody work, on the internet booking form.

I'm not happy about the ticket prices or the booking fee. I do want to see the Team Presentation, though, so I'm ripe for exploitation. I did buy some tickets, and I paid the price and the booking fee. There couldn't be any more hidden extras, could there? Actually, there could.

The cherry on the top is that I'm being charged £2.50 to send them by the ordinary post. If I'm paying more than fifty quid per ticket, can the business really not afford to post them to me, without charging me for the postage? And does £2.50 really reflect the cost of the postage? I know the price of a stamp has gone up, and Royal Mail has been privatised, but come on.

I get the impression that there was a brainstorming session at the ticket company, to work out what else they could charge people for. A pro rata amount of their heating bill? Employee insurance against paper cuts, when they're licking the envelope to seal it? I should probably stop before I give them ideas.

A final message to Welcome to Yorkshire, eventim, ASO, and Leeds Arena: at that price, it better be good. (And, eventim, get a proper name for your company, with some capital letters in it).

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