See Tickets, Buy Tickets, Go Bankrupt

Hurrah! The Hold Steady are touring and will be playing at Jabez Clegg on 13th February. The Hold Steady currently hold the title of “Band I Most Want To See Who I Haven’t Seen Already And Haven’t Died Or Split Up Yet” in my own pathetic reality. It’s a Club Fandango promotion and if you go to their website you’ll find a link to buy tickets which will direct you to the See Tickets website. Once you’ve found the gig on See Tickets you’ll first notice the very reasonable price of £6 a ticket plus the obligatory booking fee of 75 pence. But look further to the right and you will notice that See Tickets are charging an unholy £4.85 per transaction for delivery. Blimey. If you want to buy a single ticket then it will cost you a total of £11.60 which, for a £6 ticket, is a massive 93% mark up.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of this attempt at legalised robbery, I firstly did a little research on the See Tickets site and found that for all other Jabez Clegg gigs listed the delivery transaction charge was £2: still a major rip-off for the price of a stamp, an envelope and 15 seconds of someone’s time, but a bargaining point nonetheless.

I then tried to find if any other agents were offering tickets: they weren’t. I phoned Piccadilly Box Office but to no avail and also phoned Jabez Clegg where I was told that they don’t sell tickets at the venue and was then given a number to ring for tickets; the number was for Piccadilly Box Office.

Next, I disguised myself as a humble punter and phoned See Tickets to book a single ticket for the gig in question. Naturally, I was exasperated when the guy at the other end tried to charge me £11.60 for a £6 ticket and put the phone down before he could relieve me of any of my hard earned. So I phoned See Tickets customer services to complain about the astronomical transaction fee and was told by the pleasant young woman on the other end of the phone that See Tickets always send out “standing only” tickets by special delivery (she didn’t explain why). “But,” I protested, “why is the transaction fee for all the other Jabez Clegg gigs only £2?”. At this point she put me on hold as she investigated. When she came back a couple of minutes later she told me that the tickets had to be sent special delivery as See Tickets had not been given permission by the gig promoters, Club Fandango, to reproduce any lost tickets. Now, See Tickets use a company called SMS for their special deliveries and if you’re not in when they attempt to deliver you get a card through the door asking you to phone them to arrange a time for the delivery. They do not have a depot that you can go to to pick up the tickets yourself and they will not deliver without a signature. The delivery times are half day slots except for Saturdays when they could arrive at any time between 8am and 6pm. So, for your £11.60 you’ll probably have to spend all day Saturday at home, waiting.

I then checked Club Fandango’s website to see if any of their other gigs were being sold through See Tickets. They weren’t: all the other gigs on the site were being sold through either Ticketline or We Got Tickets, two of the less unscrupulous agents on the block. However, the website does have a link that lets you send them an email request to reserve advance tickets for all of their gigs, to be picked up and paid for on the door, presumably without even a booking fee attached. Yippee. I duly sent a request for two tickets along with an abridged version of these events and a few questions about what See Tickets had said and whether tickets would be available from any other outlets. I’ll let you know when I get a reply.

So, all you sniffling indie kids, hold steady if you want tickets to see The Hold Steady. Get over to the Club Fandango site and hit the “Advance Tickets” button and ask them kindly to hold your tickets on the door.

Club Fandango

The Hold Steady

See Tickets

Jabez Clegg

The Hold Steady – Positive Jam

13 Responses to “See Tickets, Buy Tickets, Go Bankrupt”

  • Chris Says:

    In most cases I’d advise to contact the promoter direct – they’re usually happy to help you avoid charges. Obviously wouldn’t work with the big boys (SJM etc) though…

  • The Ledge Says:

    Cheers Chris, I’ve already sent them an email asking to reserve tickets for collection on the night and also mentioning the See Tickets charges. I’ve also just sent out an email to their Manchester contact explaining the situation.

  • James Says:

    You’re not supposed to give this any publicity until I get my tickets! Tickets that I’ll be procuring direct from Club Fandango by the looks of it. Two days after this, Junior Boys play High Voltage at the Roadhouse too, but something tells me that I might be getting into that one for free. I have friends in high places, you know.

  • The Ledge Says:

    Sorry James. I’ve just got an email to say that the email I sent to asking to reserve my tickets has not been delivered after 24 hours. Sounds like either their mail server is down or that address no longer exists. Doesn’t look good anyhow.

  • Mancubist Says:

    Too easily defeated! Try Matt himself at

  • The Ledge Says:

    I have already emailed Matt but at a slightly different address ( matt [at] tcb-management [dot] co [dot] uk ). Will copy the email to the new address. Thanks.

  • JustHipper Says:

    This is all fine and good and fingers crossed that the promoter will sell us a pair of tickets at a reasonable price, but this is all missing the point – which is that it seems to be accepted and acceptable for ticket sellers to put massive markups on to the prices of tickets. We’re not talking about inflationary rises here either.

    If you try to book Scissor Sisters tickets via Ticketmaster (I know, it’s just an experiment), the ticket price for a seat at The M.E.N. Arena is £28.50. The service charge is £6.33. Then you get 3 delivery options:

    Secure Post for £4.95
    Standard Post for £2.00
    Box Office Collection for £2.00
    e-Ticket for £2.00

    Now, the first 2 I can understand (although it does NOT cost £2.00 to send something by regular mail!), but why are they charging you to collect at the box office? Do the venue get that money to pay their staff for the, say, 15 seconds it takes them to look at your ID and hand you your tickets? And why on earth are they charging to EMAIL you a ticket?!?! Seriously! That is automated, it’s already programmed into the system and they just bang out an email. Nobody has lifted a finger. So why does it cost money?!

    This is legalised robbery. They set a ticket price and you think “ok, I can afford that.” Then they come up with extra after extra after extra. For that arena gig, unless you live pretty close by, you will also have to pay for parking – something we discovered at V Festival last year. £120 for a weekend ticket with camping + booking fees + parking. The price of a ticket should be the price of a ticket. Simple as. Or at the very least the markups should not be allowed to go over a certain amount.

    Fugazi used to only play gigs costing no more than a certain amount ($10 or something?). Why can’t other bands take a stand and refuse the exorbitant prices? They can now do e-ticketing off their own websites if they want so why even bother with Ticketmaster or See Tickets or anyone else these days?

  • Matthew Says:

    Reminds me of those f*cking taxes and charges that airlines add to their ‘low cost’ fares. And bank charges. Aren’t airlines getting in trouble for essentially lying about the cost of their flights now, and isn’t this exactly the same thing? Where’s the watchdog…?

  • The Ledge Says:

    According to Matt at Club Fandango tickets should be on sale from Ticketline from tomorrow. Hurrah!

  • The Indie Credential » Blog Archive » Arcade Fire Tour, Ticket Agencies Crash Says:

    […] See Tickets, Buy Tickets, Go Bankrupt […]

  • The Indie Credential » Blog Archive » Gig Review: The Hold Steady, Club Academy, February 13, 2007 Says:

    […] The Ledge would have been very impressed with himself last night. After pointing out how outrageous See Tickets markups on Hold Steady tickets were and alerting the promoter to the problem he managed to score us ticket numbers one and two. Shame he got sent away on business and Bricking Chick ended up with his ticket, because he’d have really enjoyed the gig. Turning up about an hour late to yet another impromptu Manchester Bloggers convention to find James YerMam! and Jon the Beef already well on their way to inebriation, we opted for a few drinks in the Student Union over the opening bands. […]

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