Most people were pleasantly surprised when Ticketmaster provided vouchers for free concerts to anyone who bought tickets from the company between October 21, 1999, and February 27, 2013, but the lack of available shows is leaving now leaving them frustrated.
WTOP reports that Ticketmaster gave free vouchers as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement that accused Ticketmaster of “excessive and deceptive” charges and fees. The company clearly hoped to satisfy fans with free vouchers and discounts, but with more than 700 shows already sold out this year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to take advantage of the offer.
It’s also difficult for people to use their vouchers to see today’s popular acts. Instead, they are being offered chances to see “B list” acts and cover bands. For instance, concert goers may not have a chance of seeing Adele or Beyoncé for free, but there are still tickets available to see the “Pearl Jamz,” cover band for Pearl Jam, or “Mac Sabbath,” the Black Sabbath cover band.
— Slate (@Slate) June 26, 2016
In other words, the acts that many people are interested in seeing are simply not included when using the vouchers. Even those who want to see cover bands are having issues, since many of the acts aren’t playing in their states. In fact, the New York Times reports that the vouchers are only available for use in 19 out of 50 states. The news publication noted the following.
“The odds are a lot of people will never get the chance to redeem their free-ticket vouchers.”
Can we all sue Ticketmaster again over their list of shows you can use with the vouchers
— Chris DeVille (@chrisdeville) June 21, 2016
Another issue is Ticketmaster’s website. The company recently announced that since offering the vouchers, it’s been experiencing “unprecedented demand for information.” The overwhelming amount of users on the site has caused a myriad of issues, including vouchers completely disappearing from customers’ accounts. Some people, even though they bought tickets through Ticketmaster between October 21, 1999, and February 27, were never given vouchers at all.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) June 22, 2016
In response, Ticketmaster announced that it would provide another $5 million in tickets for those who haven’t received their vouchers yet.
Meanwhile, the vouchers are bringing comic relief to some people, including comedian Stephen Colbert, who jokingly tweeted that he was happy to see he made the list.
Excited to learn that Stephen: The Language of Dance is among the free Ticketmaster settlement concerts. Come out and see me sparkle!
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) June 23, 2016
The Case Against Ticketmaster
The lawsuit against Tickmaster began when marketing consultant Curt Schlesinger bought four tickets in 2003, to the Wilco concert in Chicago. He chose to get hard copies of the tickets and opted for the two-day UPS shipping option, which set him back $19.95 in fees. Yet, after researching, he learned that UPS shipping should have only been $16.35. Ticketmaster had apparently pocketed around $3 of the delivery fees.
Over time, other ticket buyers joined in on the lawsuit, claiming they would have never bought tickets through Ticketmaster had they known the company was profiting from shipping fees. By 2010, so many Ticketmaster customers joined in that it became a class-action lawsuit. After trying in vain to fight the lawsuit, Ticketmaster finally gave in, resulting in $5 million worth of vouchers to concert goers who purchased tickets via the company.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 22, 2016
Unless Ticketmaster changes how the vouchers can be used, the frustration among customers will likely increase. Currently, even if a concert isn’t sold out to the public, it’s listed as “sold out” to voucher holders after a certain amount of people redeem their voucher codes for that particular show. Coupled with the fact that lots of people will need to travel hundreds of miles just to see a concert with their vouchers, it’s a safe bet, as noted earlier, that not everyone will use their codes.
To see if you have free vouchers, simply log into your Ticketmaster account, click on “Your Account,” followed by “Active Vouchers” (located on the left-hand side of your account page). If you have a voucher code in your account, visit the official settlement page for a list of eligible concerts.
In the meantime, Ticketmaster announced that the list of eligible concerts will be “periodically updated” to include more shows. Vouchers are valid until June 18, 2020.
[Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma]