Convenience Fees, a Logical Fallacy

Rachel and I are going to Portland this weekend (after we were preempted by a family emergency)!

Rachel suggested we see Ovo, a Cirque du Soleil touring production, and I thought it was a great idea![1].

I went to go purchase tickets[2] and was about ready to check out when I noticed there was $26 in fees[3].

“Convenience fees” are nothing new, Ticketmaster has been making untold millions on them for years. And perhaps in the beginning it really was a convenience for people to not have to trudge down to the ticket office. However, these days I believe that offering tickets online is more of a convenience for the seller instead of the buyer. So why the fees?

I called Hadley Media, the marketing group that was responsible for the discount, and asked about it. Their response was something that I’ve grown all to accustomed to hearing: “That’s a fee typical of the industry.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is an argumentum ad populum[4] and is a logical fallacy.

Why not simply include the “fee” in the actual cost of the ticket? What would you do if a company listed hamburgers on their menu for $2.65 and then charged you $1 for actually consuming the food?

To me, that’s lying. They are not disclosing the true cost of the item in a place where such costs are purported to be. When a company uses such tactics, my trust of them lessens.

I should make clear that Hadley Media doesn’t actually sell the tickets or charge the fee, they’re fault in this matter was explaining the fees as: “everyone does it”. Shockingly, even Ticketmaster isn’t behind this. Interestingly enough, this fee appears to be the result of a joint venture between AEG, Outbox Technology, and Cirque du Soleil presumably designed to compete against Ticketmaster.

  1. We had wanted to see Cavalia when it was in Seattle, but didn’t jump on it fast enough. []
  2. Noticing that I have a 15% discount through work! []
  3. Technically, five of those dollars were for sending me my e-Ticket, however the only alternative was to pay $7 for will call []
  4. appeal to the people []