Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Convenience Charges - Convenient For Who, Exactly?

Why is everybody trying to rip me off? I am sick of being led to believe that the price of an item is there for all to see only to discover that there is a hidden charge.

Let me home in one particular example of this covert form of daylight robbery; the “convenience charge”.

Consider the following scenario.

You are flicking through the entertainment section of a periodical of your choice when you stumble across details of a forthcoming tour by your favourite artist. Of course you are filled with absolute glee and immediately phone up the ticket hotline to purchase your ticket. Now the price of the said ticket is expensive at £160, but you dismiss that because, after all, she is your idol and the chance to see the princess of pop at Wembley is simply too much to resist. Now if you live in, say, Birmingham, it would be difficult to drive all the way down to the Wembley Box Office to pick up your ticket in person because it is a long distance so you can order your ticket online or via the telephone hotline.


The way I see it, you should be able to call the hotline and ask them to post the ticket to you. Maybe send the ticket with the option of guaranteed delivery with recorded delivery or take the chance at receiving it in the normal mail. So in theory the ticket should cost:

(1) £164.60 – if the ticket is sent recorded delivery
(2) £160.36 – if the ticket is sent first class
(3) £160.27 – if the ticket is sent second class

But it bloody well doesn’t.

The price of the ticket does not include a “convenience charge”, a fee that is added for the convenience to the purchaser. For a £160 ticket, this fee is £14. FOURTEEN BLOODY POUNDS!

I have a question. What the hell do you get for your £14. And what the hell is the convenience for? Is £14 the fee paid to the operator who spent all of ten seconds finding the best available seat (given that she probably used a computer to do so)? How can this daylight robbery be justified?
OK, so it is more than one question but when the red mist descends you suddenly find yourself being taken over in order to demand answers as to why you are mugged online or from the other end of a phone.

Conveniently the £14 in the above example is a percentage of the ticket price. If for example you wanted to see a band charging £17.50 for a ticket then the “convenience charge” would be a mere £3.75 – cheaper yes, but little consolation because it is still a complete rip off.

The problem is that we all as a nation sit there and accept this disgraceful behaviour. We willingly accept that we are being stopped by cyber-highwaymen and handing over our hard earned cash for nothing. It is a legal form of theft.

Why don’t we make a stand? Why don’t we as a nation throw down our gauntlets and say “ENOUGH!!!”?

The sad thing about all of this is that we are happy to allow unscrupulous faceless, RICH, people to take our money in exchange for the “convenience” of seeing our favourite artists. The fact that certain stars charge the earth to see them perform live is one thing but to add insult to injury there are modern day highwaymen waiting in the wings to squeeze that little extra bit of cash out of us, conning those gullible enough to believe them that we are getting something in return.

We are getting NOTHING!

We should make a stand!

No comments: