Remember when Pearl Jam railed against the evils of Ticketmaster in 1994? Well, 22 years later, I’m here to say, Eddie Vedder, I finally feel your pain.
This week I, along with roughly 57 million others who have purchased concert tickets through the Ticketmaster, reaped the rewards of the class-action lawsuit that disputed Ticketmaster’s legendary, exorbitant service fees. In a year of political divide and discord, Trump and Clinton and Sanders and Gary Johnson supporters alike finally found something in common: We all got scammed by Ticketmaster between 1999 and 2013. Seriously, you probably have free tickets waiting for you if you check your account. But this reward, this settlement we’ve all been promised, is garbage.
According to the New York Times, Ticketmaster is only obligated to pay out $42 million in damages to these 57 million voucher-holders, which means they’re hardly expecting everyone to redeem them. And if you’re brave enough to try, they’re not going to make it easy. Let’s have some fun with math: the cheapest tickets available on Ticketmaster are about $30. At that cost, and with no fees applied to them, Ticketmaster would be required to give away 1.4 million tickets, or 700,000 pairs. Divided by 57 million people, that means that 1.2% of voucher-holders will actually be able to successfully use them on a show. Allow me to break down all the obstacles standing between you and the “Rockstar Energy Drink Presents A Taste of Chaos” tour.
You Can’t Check For Your Free Vouchers On Your Phone
To see if you have any vouchers waiting for you, all you have to do it log in to your Ticketmaster account and click the “My Vouchers” icon. Trouble is, that icon is not an option for mobile users. It doesn’t exist. So you have to access the desktop site to see that. “Stop whining, hundreds of dollars worth of free concert tickets await, all you have to do is simply access the desktop version of the site!” you say. I say “I once had your optimism!” (Let me know if you find a loophole here though, I want to be proven wrong on this one.)
THEEERRRRRE They Are
Hi, Active Vouchers! CLICK.
Due To Site Overload, You’ll Keep Getting an Error Message That Your Vouchers Cannot Be Accessed At This Time
57 million people have the same idea as you this week. Of course the website’s not gonna load.
Things Started Looking Up
Success! You got in to your account and you have free tickets! Personally I have six free pairs of tickets and seven discount codes in the amount of $2.25 each. Let’s not even talk about those. Six free pairs of tickets! That’s great! Some recipients of the settlement received seventeen pairs, but I’m happy with six. It feels nice to be content with this situation, if only for a brief, fleeting moment.
Once You Access Your Vouchers, You’ll Learn The List Of Available Shows You Can Use Them On Doesn’t Exist
This was a minor, temporary setback…for what was sure to be a major comeback, right Ticketmaster? RIGHT? As was reported last weekend by Gawker, among others, the list of available shows you could attend using your vouchers led to…a dead link. We all knew it was only a matter of time before the link was updated or fixed, so this was a forgivable transgression. But it made me think long and hard about my own behavior and led me to this conclusion: Refreshing the same dead link over and over is the new definition of insanity.
Then You Actually Accessed The Show Listings And It Was A Dud
When Ticketmaster finally revealed the shows you could put your tickets toward…Le sigh. Not only was the selection limited, so were the geographic locations of the venues. I’m fairly certain every show I bought tickets to during the past 15 years was in New York City. And yet, as of yesterday, the closest venue to New York that I could see a free show was Holmdel, NJ. According to the official litigation site, Ticketmaster says “Under the terms of the settlement, Ticketmaster is required to provide tickets across a variety of events that take place at a sufficient number of Live Nation owned and operated venues. If the initial list of events does not include an event in your area, please check back periodically, as new events will be added.” So the free tickets will only be honored at a few venues you hate that are definitely not in your city. Cool.
Wait, They Added NYC Venues! YES!
In New York, the Gramercy Theater and Irving Plaza were added today. I love a late entry. I am happy. I might not want to PAY for an English Beat with Soul Asylum show, but I will certain attend one for free, stay till they play “Mirror in the Bathroom” and then leave!
Except That Everyone In NYC Had That Idea Too And They Only Take A Limited Number Of Vouchers Per Show
The fine print of your voucher declares “Please be aware that due to limited availability, we expect these settlement ticket codes to be redeemed quickly.” So if you aren’t on top of your game, you might get shut out of the event that you didn’t even want to see but you thought it would be cool since it was free, and since that you can’t go you’re madder now than you were at the fact that Ticketmaster scammed you out of all those fees for two decades. Even the dudes in this stock photo are pissed they got shut out of the Korn and Rob Zombie: Return of the Dreads Tour.
According to the New York Times, “Attempts to use the codes for discounts or free tickets on two listed events — Kenny Chesney in Virginia Beach, and the San Francisco Symphony — returned error messages on Tuesday.” Ticketmaster does not discriminate! You are all dead to them, from the Chesney-philes to the Symphomaniacs. Accept your fate. You will not win. They collected their fees and now they will collect your sanity.
You are even more out of luck today, as every single show that was accepting vouchers — there were 673 — is now sold out. SRY.
You know the famous line (I paraphrase) about the two people eating and one says “This food is terrible!” and the other person says “And the portions are so small!” That’s how I feel about this situation. I didn’t ask for these tickets, and I don’t even want them. But dammit, no one is going to take them away from me.