By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What’s the difference between an order processing fee and a convenience fee? Beats me.
Ticketmaster, an online ticket agency, recently announced the settlement of a class action lawsuit that’s been banging around the court system since it was filed in 2003. Consumers alleged that Ticketmaster’s pricing misled them.
But, before anyone ever bought a ticket, they saw what they’d get charged. It’s not like a hotel bill where you think you know what the room is going to cost per night but when you’re ready to check out you realize you’re getting charged for what you thought was the complimentary newspaper and bottle of water. When you bought a ticket, you saw what the total price was going to be before you put in your credit card number and paid for it. So what’s the claim?
The claim is you knew that you’d pay for Ticketmaster’s profit, which on your bill said you were being charged a “convenience fee” or a “facility fee”. But there were other charges on that bill like “order processing fees” and UPS “delivery fees” that sound like costs to Ticketmaster that Ticketmaster was just passing along – but it wasn’t. It was a profit center, another way for Ticketmaster to make more money off of a consumer’s purchase. And consumers said that was misleading, and that if they’d known that Ticketmaster was actually up-charging them instead of passing along a simple cost they might have made a different decision about whether to buy from Ticketmaster.