Ticketmaster settlement voucher program continues their long tradition of mocking customers

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As you probably saw over the last week, Ticketmaster gave you a bunch of free concert tickets! How awesome of them! Totally makes up for their decades-long anal rape of American music fans!

Not so fast. The details, eligibility, and fine print for those free vouchers were released today, and as usual, Ticketmaster has made a mockery of customer service.

Ticketmaster was sued a few years back over their insane “convenience” fees charged on top of concert tickets. Plaintiffs alleged these fees weren’t being used to recoup any costs and were instead just profit-based price padding. As is usually the case with class action lawsuits, Ticketmaster settled for a price (mostly to lawyers) instead of admitting their heinous crimes against humanity.

That price was free and discounted tickets. Each customer who had purchased tickets during a certain period would receive a number of discount coupons to use on any concert they liked, and also a number of free vouchers for certain events.

My friends and I were floored when we saw the number of coupons and vouchers we received. I got six of each, but some friends got more than a dozen. A dozen free concerts?!

They celebrated. I waited for the catch. Today it came.

Ticketmaster published a list of hundreds of concerts through October that are eligible for free vouchers. The list isn’t searchable or filterable and is only sorted by date, so you have to click through nine pages of events, so click the Location heading to sort by venue and find something in your area…if you’re lucky.

There’s nothing in mine. I live in southwest Louisiana, roughly halfway between Houston and New Orleans, two prime concert hubs that end up on most major tour schedules. Neither city has any events in the list.

In fact, the only city with any eligible concerts in Texas or Louisiana is Dallas, and only at one venue.

Maybe they’ll add more, though! They already have this morning, currently 450 events, up from 408 when I first checked. [UPDATE: Now down to 399 listings.] But time is running out.

Ticketmaster agreed to provide $5 million in ticket vouchers for select Live Nation concerts through May 2017, subject to availability and a cap of 17 claims per account. Given the tremendous initial interest for these tickets, Ticketmaster will increase to $10 million its allotment of tickets made available through May 2017. The potential for additional tickets will be based on the redemption rates of the discount and UPS vouchers.

Ignore the expiration date of 6/18/2020 on your vouchers. There will only be concerts for which you can use them through May 2017, less than a year from now.

But they might double the number of vouchers! …if you redeem them fast enough on the initial, absurdly small list of available events.

The only tangible benefit most customers will see from the settlement at all is from the discount coupons, not the vouchers. A few dollars off any ticket is nice, but it won’t even make up for the “convenience” fees Ticketmaster is still charging even after the lawsuit over those same fees.

Ticketmaster’s customer service and pricing schemes over the years created a new market of concert ticket providers. With the advent of broadband, app, and mobile options, venues large and small started selling their own tickets instead. The ironic result is that now that Ticketmaster has been forced to offer restitution for their worst practices, circumstances have aligned so that the limits placed on that restitution are so narrow that the restitution itself is just another insult to their long-suffering customers.

The photo above is from the day the ill-fated Lilith 2010 reboot tour was cancelled after poor ticket sales and atrocious management.

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