Russell Brand fans forced to give up $13 tickets

By Hayden Donnell

Russell Brand fans who thought they'd scored cheap tickets to his Auckland show have been forced to pay the full price or accept a refund.  Photo / AP
Russell Brand fans who thought they'd scored cheap tickets to his Auckland show have been forced to pay the full price or accept a refund. Photo / AP

More than 30 Russell Brand fans have been forced to forfeit their purchases or pay full price after mistakenly being sold $13 tickets for the comedian's upcoming Auckland show.

Meanwhile, fans in Wellington affected by an identical error when buying passes through Ticketek were allowed to keep their discounted passes.

An online error caused Ticketmaster to sell 36 tickets to Brand's Vector Arena show on November 28 for $12.90 rather than the $129.90 advertised price.

The ticketing vendor contacted all those issued the discounted tickets demanding they pay full price or accept a refund for their purchase.

Karaka woman Maree Street decided to go to Brand's performance after seeing discounted passes advertised in a New Zealand Comedy Festival mailout.

She bought two tickets at the Ticketmaster website for $12.90 each, but eventually agreed to pay the full price of $265.58 after a call from a company representative.

Street said it was not fair for Auckland fans to be treated differently to those in Wellington.

She said Ticketmaster should have allowed her to keep the tickets she bought or offered her a discount.

"It's like they're saying we stuffed up but it's your fault so you have to pay ... If they have something at an advertised price and you've agreed to it, that's the deal.

"I was absolutely stoked at the tickets - being part of the comedy fest mailout we were told there's a deal going and to expect a deal."

Street said it was annoying to have to pay more than $200 extra than she had originally spent on her tickets after also buying six passes to a show by rap rock act Linkin Park through Ticketmaster, she said.

"So it wasn't like I was a first time customer or anything. I have paid a lot of money through their site."

Ticketmaster executive chairman Maria O'Connor said the 36 discounted tickets were sold at that price because of human error.

The company was allowed to cancel the purchases under New Zealand law, she said.

"It's our fault and we're sorry but it affected very few people. We are dealing with millions of people a year and when you're relying on individuals these things happen."

O'Connor said ticket prices were set by show promoters and Ticketmaster did not have the power to offer refunds or discounts.

"If I was buying the tickets I would be curious to see them for $12.90 when they're advertised at $129.90. It was human error."

A Consumer Affairs spokesman said Ticketmaster was "probably" within its rights to demand full price on the tickets under the Contract Mistakes Act.

It allows retailers who sell goods to a customer at a mistaken price to reverse the sale.

However, the customer has to have known the original price was likely to be wrong.

"Thirteen dollars for a major international comedian would probably fall under that definition."

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