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Backlash against Ticketmaster, SeatGeek leads to price transparency



Ticketmaster and SeatGeek are getting a lot more transparent when it comes to ticket prices.

The two companies, which are the biggest ticket sellers in the U.S., have agreed to present the full cost of tickets up front and to do away with hidden costs, giving wannabe concert and theatergoers the chance to better compare actual costs of seats.

An announcement from the White House announced the deal late Wednesday.

Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation committed to the roll-out in September for the more than 200 venues and festivals it owns. It will also give consumers the option to receive all-in pricing on other venues.

SeatGeek said it will roll out the new features “over the course of the summer”.

Consumer frustration

The move comes as consumers have become increasingly frustrated with Ticketmaster’s pricing policies–and so have artists.

In March, The Cure frontman Robert Smith took to Twitter to lambast the company for tacking fees onto tickets that, in some cases, more than doubled the cost of the show. Ticketmaster issued a refund after the band’s complaint.

Some states, such as New York, have already passed legislation that banned hidden fees in tickets. And a bi-partisan bill has already been introduced in Congress to do away with them.

“Today’s voluntary actions demonstrate that companies both big and small recognize the importance of providing consumers with honest, up-front all-in pricing, rather than tricking them with surprise fees at the end of checkout,” the White House said in a statement. “It is also just a first step towards addressing junk fees in the economy.”

Ticket fees are just part of the fight the White House is leading against hidden costs to consumers. Also in the crosshairs are surprise “resort fees,” early termination fees charged by cable, internet, and cellphone companies, and family seating fees.

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