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Purchasing tickets on a second hand market place - Buyer beware of the fees, charges, taxes, commissions, ... adding up to 75% !

markstickets Mark's tickets

Recently Stubhub abandoned a real-life test disclosing to customers of second hand tickets the all-in price upfront - as they were losing customers hand over feet to other ticket brokers. Today, I personally went through the experience of how a $20 ticket purchase results in $15.10 of additional fees, charges, and taxes to the online broker - and that is even before they take their cut of what the seller of the tickets actually receives.

First... I should have known better... The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine and many other publications have documented at large the business practices used by ticket brokers to tack on fees after fees to second hand market event tickets - driving up the price of entertainment.

Below I'm sharing with you the full detail of my "brokered" ticket transaction - $20 in tickets and $15 in additional fees...

If you like some fun background reading, take a look at

StubHub Gets Out of ‘All-In’ Pricing. After losing business, ticket reseller reverts to tacking on fees at checkout

Why StubHub Is Tacking on Ticket Fees Again

How do fees stack up on top of the ticket price ? Take a look at the WSJ example...


Now, second... here is my real example of today... I bought $20 worth of tickets on Mark's Tickets - and ended up paying $35.10 when all fees were added...

Here is what I wrote to Mark's Ticket customer support after my new buyer experience...

Dear customer representative:

I wanted to take a moment to share my experience with you and your company, to ensure you know how your new users feel (ripped off) and perceive your company - such that you are not surprised when you see this feedback about your business business practices pop up elsewhere.

Today, I used Mark's tickets for the first time, as an alternative to buying PDF event tickets from an individual user on craigslist. As such, I was most certainly prepared to pay a premium for the additional selection, convenience and security which an intermediate broker like Mark's tickets would bring to the table. But I was most definitely not prepared to face a premium of 75% on top of the actual ticket price for these services.

Here is my concrete example of today...

I'm buying 4 tickets for the Dallas Stars pre-season NHL game, at $5.00 each. Offered by a third party on Mark's Tickets. Good deal.

Next, the fun starts...
- Per ticket service fee... of $1.25 each... or $5.00 in total
- Delivery fee... of $7.50. Really ? For just sending me an automated email to the PDF ticket file ?
- And a nice disclosure saying : any applicable taxes have not been included
- Showing me the invoice with $12.50 in additional fees (based on which I hit the order button)
- And then charge my credit card after the fact for the Texas Sales Tax to the amount of $2.60.

Total amount of fees tacked on to $20.00 in resale tickets: $15.10

Impressive, don't you think ?

Warranted by the services delivered ? I don't think so.

Given that you did not disclose the actual total you were going to charge to my credit card on the actual order page, and charged the sales taxes separately to my credit card, I actually believe I can successfully protest the $2.60 in additional and after the fact charge.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my experience, and try to understand what your (new) users are going through in terms of sticker shock. I definitely understand that breaking the bad news (additional charges) to your customers bit by bit is better from a commercial point of view (I am familiar with the research, nicely summarized at - at least in the short term. I trust your customers and the wider public will in the long end vote with their feet on these kind of business practices.

Best regards,

Jürgen's picture

High and hidden Ticket Broker

High and hidden Ticket Broker charges... a quick update..

First of all... I got no response of all from Markstickets customer service after sending the note above. No acknowledgement - no message failure - no explanation - no apology - nothing. So I guess that customer service really isn't part of their core values.

Second... all charges - including the separate sales tax of $2.60 - did come through on my credit card. Initiated by a company called Ticket Finders USA.

So I looked into their policies, which basically confirm the way of working outlined above. Quoting from their own document:

Schedule of Fees and Charges The price charged to USER'S credit card shall include the following fees and charges in addition to the price of each ticket:

Service Fee: Cost per ticket associated with SITE operation, customer service center operation, and other costs associated with the fulfillment of USER'S ticket request.
Delivery: Costs associated with the Delivery Method chosen by USER and SITE'S arrangement of USER'S ticket delivery.
Total: Entire amount charged to USER, including each ticket's price as set by the TICKET SELLER, Service Fee, and Delivery.

So reading this... Total means total. Everything included. Entire amount charged to the user.

That is... until you read further down in the same policy document:

Taxes Prices stated on the SITE do not include any state or other local taxes that may apply to USER'S order. SITE may collect sales tax as is appropriate for USER’S location. If taxes are applicable to USER'S order they will be added to USER'S order as a separate charge in addition to the TOTAL.

Now... read the definition of total again... and it just doesn't sound right, does it now?