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! ((We had wanted to see Cavalia when it was in Seattle, but didn’t jump on it fast enough.)).

I went to go purchase tickets ((Noticing that I have a 15% discount through work!)) and was about ready to check out when I noticed there was $26 in fees ((Technically, five of those dollars were for sending me my e-Ticket, however the only alternative was to pay $7 for will call)).

“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 ((appeal to the people)) 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.