I was booking tickets to a concert recently when something confounded me: Ticketmaster was selling some tickets for twice the regular retail price, with no added benefit to the purchaser. These weren’t VIP tickets, for example, and you wouldn’t be getting merch or free drinks alongside entry.
I’m talking about “in demand” tickets, described by Ticketmaster as dynamically priced tickets “driven by demand from fans, similar to airline tickets and hotel rooms”.
For example, tickets for Florence and the Machine’s Auckland show were advertised at around $160 each. But for an “in demand” ticket, you could be paying up to $300.
While no one from Ticketmaster has responded to my request for more information on these in demand tickets, the retailer says on its website that these aren’t resale tickets.
“In demand tickets are tickets offering sought after views and seats from Ticketmaster. The prices are adjusted according to supply and demand,” Ticketmaster said. “The goal is to give the most passionate fans fair and safe access to in demand tickets, while allowing the artists and everyone involved in staging live events to price tickets closer to their true value.”
I was still a bit confused by whether this was fair or whether people were getting ripped off. I asked Consumer NZ to clarify. Spokesperson Raksha Nand told The Spinoff it was possible people could be paying significantly higher prices for tickets as a result.
“While this isn’t ideal from a consumer perspective, there’s nothing illegal about the practice,” she said. “And Ticketmaster isn’t the only company using this type of pricing. However, any company that adjusts it prices based on demand will need to ensure it’s upfront about its pricing and that it isn’t misleading its customers by advertising prices that are unattainable.”
Consumer has just had one complaint about this so far, Nand confirmed. However, the return of live events in the post-Covid world could see more people question how much they’re paying for a ticket.