Monday, October 18, 2021

Grateful Ticketmaster customer has the ‘most common situation’

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CNN Writer

(CNN) — “Oops, I’d like a refund, Ticketmaster.” We hear those words so often, it’s easy to become used to them.

In the past couple weeks, I’ve called Ticketmaster about five times and each time I’ve received the same response from Ticketmaster: refund.

And yet here I am: trying to get my money back.

It all started in Canada, where, after an overwhelming demand for tickets, Ticketmaster moved the Toronto Women’s Show from its longtime home, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, to the Ron Joyce Centre. It was such a logistical nightmare that some of the organizers, furious, cancelled their reservation for shows and events.

Ticketmaster told me that, even though tickets were sold for the new show — tickets that now belong to everyone who bought them online — I am on Ticketmaster’s third-party vendor list, and so can’t receive a refund for my ticket fee.

Lately, I’ve been trying to un-check a box on my account under third-party vendor, which is actually the case. The problem is that Ticketmaster’s system doesn’t know that I’ve checked the box.

I told them to let me click on the fine print on my invoice, the line that says if I do this, I’ll be removed from their vendor list. Ticketmaster replied that it didn’t have any changes, other than that “we should send you an email explaining that the ticket number is yours.”

My calls to Ticketmaster’s customer care office were usually referred to customer service at Ticketmaster’s administrative offices. It’s their policy to escalate a case to these offices if an employee recognizes a customer problem, regardless of whether that issue can be solved.

Sometimes, customer service at Ticketmaster’s office can be so poor and frustrating that I gave up and left the ticket company with $41 in ticket fees. I did get my money back from another vendor, but that vendor was clearly not working through Ticketmaster’s system.

The trouble with Ticketmaster’s system

I’m not the only one who’s tired of Ticketmaster’s customer service staff.

Two-time ticket buyers in Austin, Texas, were planning to go to the free Four Corners Music Festival. Instead, their phones buzzed with email alerts, saying that tickets were unavailable and they should look elsewhere.

“We are requesting Ticketmaster to refund this charge and/or honor the tickets purchased,” said the note from the festival’s booking agency, directf.com.

The site was the best there is at getting tickets for huge events but the reviews are not flattering. Three-and-a-half stars out of five and one reviewer said, “Too many hiccups during transaction. Some won’t get through. As with tickets being unavailable.”

Finally, Ticketmaster’s mailing service went down on Monday, which disappointed one customer buying nine tickets to the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.

“Ticketmaster obviously doesn’t care about customers who have backed them up to this level of depravity,” wrote one reader.

But Ticketmaster isn’t the only ticket seller that can be unforgiving. I’m stuck on Ticketmaster’s third-party vendor list for now — but there’s still hope.

CNN Money editor Marc Willis said that my ticket problem is “one of the most common situations I have to explain to new customers.”

“Although it can be frustrating and annoying for a new customer, you’ve got to try every opportunity you have to get your issue resolved,” Willis said.

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