SonicSeats has identified the ticket industry’s problem areas for consumers. We’ve made it our aim to be superior to our competitors in all of these areas. We believe customers are becoming increasingly aware of bait and switch tactics, unnecessary shipping charges, minimum price listings and speculative tickets. Our priority is to instill customers’ confidence that they’re paying the lowest possible prices, are provided ticket prices that are totally transparent, without any hidden service fees or shipping charges, and that they never have to worry about disingenuous floor pricing and speculative tickets. Finally a fair marketplace has entered the ticket exchange industry.
Drip pricing, the practice of advertising artificially low ticket prices and hiding the amount of added fees until checkout, has been prevalent in the ticket industry for years. These fees are typically mandatory and a user is forced to navigate through multiple screens before encountering them, usually at the last step of the purchase process, after selecting tickets based specifically on the advertised price, creating an account or entering login credentials, and supplying billing info. Even when customers click for more detailed information on fees, they find only a vague “service and delivery fees” label. StubHub, for instance, only disclaims fee breakdowns through a tiny tooltip beside a barely-noticeable “pricing details” section at checkout. With fee amounts ranging from 10% to 25% of ticket price, for a ticket with a wholesale value of $500, that means a customer could pay $125 in fees.
“Service and delivery fees” as a label is further misleading, as these fees are entirely for profit. It doesn’t make sense to have a delivery fee for a digital download. Furthermore, third party sellers are responsible for delivering tickets, and StubHub, for example, already receives a 10% -15% fee from that seller once tickets are sold. SonicSeats, on the other hand, charges neither shipping nor delivery fees.
In 2015, StubHub made the decision to move to all-in prices (no hidden fees), but in 2016, relegated all-in prices to a mere filter users can apply to ticket listings, default lists still showing ticket prices with hidden fees. StubHub stated they saw a decline in sales after displaying all-in prices. Customers argue that even when “show prices with fees” is selected, the total is still always higher at checkout, and the fees amount is seemingly arbitrary, with no explanation for fees varying drastically between similar events. It is as if the algorithm is to “show some fees” instead of “show all fees.” Price changes do not seem to be determined by ticket sellers, as the same occurrence of price jumping at checkout can be witnessed for all tickets.
StubHub sets a minimum price listing, applied to all forms of tickets, to stay in accordance with contractual obligations as Major League Baseball’s official ticket resale marketplace. StubHub’s Head of Corporate Communications stated, “as a technology-enabled platform business, having a minimum price allows us to cover the operating cost associated with transactions.” SonicSeats considers floor pricing unnecessary and dishonest to consumers.
Speculative tickets are posted by sellers when they have not yet been purchased, before the onsale for an event has begun. SonicSeats differs from competitors by using technology to filter out speculative tickets. This explains why we have less inventory than a site like StubHub.
On SonicSeats, customers don’t have to spend time comparing prices between sites or researching the wholesale value of tickets. Customers can trust that they’re getting the best possible deal: we have no minimum price listing, all inventory is in real time (tickets are not speculative), and there are no service fees or shipping charges. We truly believe in transparency and building our customers’ confidence, reframing their perspective of the ticket industry. We run on low margins with little budget for advertising, relying on satisfied customers to spread the word.