Sunday, March 18, 2012

ON LINE RIP OFF

I am a big fan of the musical group Lady Atnebellum. So when they announced tour date at the 1-800 Ask Gary Amphitheater, I was ready when the tickets went on pre sale last week.

I dutifully logged on, followed all the suggestions, selected my two tickets 56.50 each total $113.00 and hit pay. Amount due $131.00. What? I must have missed something.

I sure did. As I scrolled up there was unwanted $18.00 added for the Lady Antebellum Online Fan Club.

Now I really like Lady Antebellum, but as you might imagine my e-mail box fills up with important stuff from you guys, and I really don't need any more e-mail from people trying to sell groupie junk.

Should be pretty simple, I thought, I'll just delete it and all will be OK. Nope not so fast.

Now I am pretty good at finding carefully tucked away buttons on web sites that allow you to make decisions that the page owner really doesn't want you to make, but I could not find anything that would let me opt out of the online Lady A Fan Club.

Suddenly it was the principle rather than the money or the annoying e-mails. These guys were trying to force me, an on line customer, into an additional $18.00 purchase I did not want.

Not right, not fair, no way I hit delete.     

After cold drink, I calmed down a bit I decided to accept the challenge and try to get the tickets without the Fan Club Option. Figuring it was tied to the on line site I called Live Nation the event promoter 1-800-745-3000.

Here is a confused crowd. First they answer TicketMaster, they bought TickeMaster a while back to get monopoly control of event ticket sales, and when I asked about the Lady A concert they said "the show at the 1-800-Ask Gary Ford Amphitheater"

Smiling, I said "yep that would be the one". I suspect the Ford people are laughing all the way to the bank.

The agent was polite, helpful and within just a few minutes I had the seats I wanted total price $113.00 no fan club and the tickets showed up in my e-mail about 5 minutes later.

The point of all of this is watch your on line buying, and be sure to look at those final prices, then check your credit card to make sure you're not getting ripped off.

This technology that we have all wrapped our lives around can easily be turned against us. Like every other tool we use to make our lives more pleasant and convenient, on line shopping needs to be managed. If they're trying to stiff, you hit delete. There is always another way.

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