Friday, April 16, 2010

An Open Letter From Live, Ticketmaster

I didn’t think a response would come this quickly.

I know-some of you are surprised I even got a response, but not me.

You see, I work for a large corporation and I talk to a variety of different people every day. From the rude and wealthy to the poor and illiterate, and I speak to them using a variety of different ways. No matter how rude, stupid, or incomprehensible their correspondence is to us, we reply back to them.

So why should my letter to Live Nation Entertainment be any different?

Here’s the weird thing: the response came from Ticketmaster, not Live Nation Entertainment.
What, do you guys have to get rid of the old letterhead?

And the other thing that isn’t so weird, but they could have addressed it: my original letter was addressed to, but the response came from Terry Lilly, the Assistant Consumer Support Manager. You heard right, I wrote to the CEO of Live Nation Entertainment’s ticketing division-Nathan Hubbard-and I got a response back from the assistant manager. I’m sure Terry is likeable enough and is competent at what he/she does, but couldn’t they acknowledge that I went from the top of LNE’s food chain to someone down to the first rung of salaried positions in like two seconds?

Not even a phony baloney “Mr. Hubbard asked me to attend to your letter personally…” could do?

The good news is that they are apologizing (which is all I was really asking for) and have even asked me to call them to see if there’s some way they can make it up to us.

So whaddya think…Should I call them?

Keep in mind, we already have choice tickets and I strongly doubt that Mr. or Mrs. Lilly can do much better.

But why not try, right?

Here’s the reply back with my calls of bullshit in red.

"Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about your bad experience on We really are concerned with the satisfaction of our customers and appreciate that you are a dedicated fan of live music. I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t about to get the tickets you wanted for the Iron Maiden show. I’ve got to say that I was sincerely touched by the simplicity of that sentence for some reason. If you give Consumer Support a call at 304-XXX-XXX, I or any of my team, will be happy to reach out to the venue on your behalf to attempt to obtain the tickets you were looking to secure. Allow me to explain contributing factors to the difficulties you described.

Ticketmaster distributes tickets for live entertainment events to the general public as an agent on behalf of Ticketmaster’s clients, who are venues, promoters, entertainers and sport franchises. I don’t live under a rock, sir. Thanks to the recent merger, there is no difference in many cases between Ticketmaster and the venue as some are owned by Live Nation. The venue in question for Iron Maiden is one of those facilities. As an agent and ticketing services provider, Ticketmaster does not determine the number of tickets available for any event, nor does it determine the pricing of the tickets that are available. How about all of those bullshit add-on charges on top of the ticket prices? The pricing and availability of tickets is determined by those with the responsibility of presenting the event such as the artist, the event promoter, and/or the venue. We know what kind of tickets the artist had-and it wasn’t much-and since you own the venue, well that means you’re responsible for the availability, doesn’t it. And the promoter? Look, I know most promoters are complete douchebags, but I know for a fact that the promoter isn’t sitting on all those tickets. Are you suggesting that they’ve worked out deals with Ebay brokers before they’ve secured a deal with Ticketmaster? Does that mean that Ticketmaster has absolutely no pull in negotiating with the promoter before tickets go on sale so that they can sell decent seats to their customers? That doesn’t sound like you’re the “master” of tickets at all! That sounds more like Ticketstowardstheback or Shittyseats.

When a popular event goes on sale there are literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of customers simultaneously attempting to purchase tickets across all distribution channels. There’s more to this paragraph, but essentially Tilly is trying to suggest that a bunch of people camped outside the venue and called Ticketmaster right when tickets went on sale at 10:00am. You know, like it was 1982 again.

The next paragraph says that sometimes the artist is so big that everyone tries to get tickets to it and not everyone can get them. This paragraph assumes that I’m retarded and didn’t know this fact.

Ticketmaster does whatever it can to make the ticket purchase process as fair, efficient, and user-friendly as possible. Tickets sell out extremely quickly for high-demand shows like this. We understand how frustrating this can be for fans looking to purchase tickets to high-demand
events. When Ticketmaster sells tickets via a fan club pre-sale or to the general public on behalf of its venue, promoter, or sports team clients, we do not give preferential or favored access to ticket brokers. To the contrary, we are always working to improve our software and policies to thwart unfair consumer practices. Here’s where it got interesting. I thought that they were going to address my biggest complaint: how did a broker secure tickets for the best seats at the Iron Maiden show and then turn around and sell them on Ebay in literally five minutes? There is no way! Those tickets were acquired beforehand, which to me demonstrates preferential treatment at
some level. Never mind the broker had tickets for not just this show, but other cities and bands too.

Again, please reach out to my department to let us know the number of seats you were looking to purchase and any other applicable criteria. I wanna meet Nicko McBrain! I can’t make any guarantees, but as a good gesture would be happy to do everything in our power to provide you exceptional service. "

All in all, a nicely worded letter that apologizes, offers a half-assed explanation, and offers a form of severance. Honestly, I’m not one to ask for anything for free. If I had waited until later on that night to buy tickets and then noticed all of the good seats were gone or that the event was sold out, I wouldn’t have even complained.

But this thing was rigged from day one.

The Midwestern in me wants me to just take it up the ass, relent that I overpaid a broker for tickets, and then up the irons in July. The greedy part of me-the same one that sees people trying to take advantage of everything, work the system in their favor, or just think they’re entitled to everything-wants to call Ticketmaster up and see how they’re able to compensate.
Because we know there’s no shortage of Maiden fans out there and a lot of them are willing to spend top dollar on good seats to see them.

Present company included.


Cousin J said...

You should see if we can get reasonably priced good seats for that Moving Pictures/Rush show.

Jake said...

You absolutely have to call and find out how far they're willing to go to make it up to you. If for no other reason than it's now your duty as a (New) journalist reporting on this story!