Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Ticketing agents told to disclose hidden charges

Tickets for Splore come with an extra $4 booking fee and $5 wristband fee.
Tickets for Splore come with an extra $4 booking fee and $5 wristband fee.

Sport, music and art fans have no choice but to front up for added charges to attend this weekend's event bonanza, as ticketing agents continue to tack on extra fees.

The Commerce Commission has dealt with 44 complaints about booking and administration fees in the past five years.

And watchdog Consumer New Zealand says the costs mislead consumers and should be included in advertised prices.

A Weekend Herald survey found sports fans and concert-goers had to pay $10 more than the advertised ticket prices for the range of events happening around Auckland and the North Island this weekend.

Consumer NZ researcher Jessica Wilson said the fees were a common cause of complaint to the agency.

"Often you don't discover these extra add-ons until you go to buy them or you find them hidden in the fine print, which is not as clear as the big headline price advertising the cost of the tickets," she said.

"We've been calling for specific all-inclusive pricing rules so traders have to disclose all their extra fees up front and it is really clear for the consumer what you have to pay."

A Commerce Commission official said none of the 44 complaints investigated resulted in prosecution.

"If any booking fees are to be charged then the fact should be clearly disclosed to the customer, it should not be 'hidden' within the advertising," the official said.

Jim Beam Homegrown event organiser Mark Wright said tickets, which incurred about $8.50 in added fees, were still a good deal and charges depended on what ticketing agent was used.

He said the total cost of $112 for ticket and booking fees to see 62 bands on eight stages at the Wellington event was "quite cheap".

Splore event organiser Amanda Wright also said the event was still good value despite the fees, and the $5 wristband charge was broken out from the ticket price so customers knew what they were paying for.

Neither Ticketek nor Ticket Master responded to Weekend Herald queries about the added costs.

Prices and fees

NRL Auckland Nines, Eden Park today and tomorrow: $53 to $403 per ticket + $5.25 transaction fee + credit/debit card processing fee of 2.55% - 2.65%

Rapture featuring Eminem, Western Springs today: $105 to $299 per ticket + 2.3% booking fee ($2.42 - $6.85)

Splore, Tapapakanga Regional Park yesterday until tomorrow: $150 to $255 per ticket + $4 booking fee + $5 wristband fee

Classic Hits Winery Tour, Villa Maria Estate Mangere today: $75 per ticket + $8 handling fee + $2 booking fee

- NZ Herald

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