Beware buying theatre tickets using lastminute.com

stevep99
stevep99 Posts: 11 Forumite
edited 1 November 2015 at 4:41PM in Theatre, concert & events tickets
Thought I would share a recent bad experience with you guys, perhaps others may avoid making the same mistake. The issue is about the lack of transparency of how tickets are described compared to what you actually get.

I recently bought tickets for a showing Miss Saigon from the lastminute.com. These were advertised as "2nd price tickets" at £53 each including fees.

In order to establish the meaning of "2nd price", I went to the venue's own site to see the seating diagrams. Here, the seating is shown, together with the pricing for purchasing direct:

1st price - £97.50
2nd price - £67.50
3rd price - £45.00

Figuring I was happy with 2nd price, the last minute.com offer looked pretty good, so I went ahead and booked.

Upon arriving at the theatre, it turns out that these tickets actually correspond to what the theatre itself classifies as "3rd price" tickets. To add insult, the extra £6 was simply lastminute's additional booking fee, which we would not have had to pay had we booked direct.

It it not acceptable to me to advertise something as "2nd price" if you don't clearly define what that means, and especially if that definition seems to contract the venue's own.

Furthermore, although lastminute does say their price includes any fees, you don't actually get to see how these break down until after you have already booked.

It seems to me they are deliberately attempting to mislead by giving vague descriptions of seat categories and not showing clearly what the booking fees are until too late.

I think this is a possibly even a breach of the Sale of Goods Act, as the provided goods did not match the advertised description in my view. I have complained to lastminute.com but their response was dismissive and refused to take the issue seriously.

I realize now I should have booked direct with the official website and ignored lastminute's deliberately misleading offer. I have learned my lesson and will never use them again.

I post this as a warning to others. It seems to me if you want to book tickets, go direct, but no matter what, you should certainly avoid using lastminute.com!

Comments

  • Thanks for the heads up. Getting the right seat is so important. Where were you actually seated? Third tier usually means not much leg room and up in the Gods where you feel far away from the action.

    Hope you enjoyed the show. My partner and I saw it about a year ago. Too much of a "weepie" for us. We like happy stuff.
  • Nick_C
    Nick_C Posts: 7,436
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    I've used Lastminute.com many times for theatre tickets and never had a problem. They sometimes have some unbeatable special offers, and you can also sometimes get cashback through TCB.

    I'm really surprised by your experience.

    However, I've just started a dummy booking on their website. When you click on "book now", you are taken to a screen to enter your payment details. On that screen, it gives you a breakdown of the cost; second price seat £45, booking fee £8. Top price tickets are £67.50 plus £10.

    I think the confusion arises because the Theatre also sells "premium tickets" at £97.50. You've assumed, quite understandable, that these are the top price tickets.

    If you look at the pricing on the Miss Saigon website, it says ticket prices are

    "£67.50, £45.00, £37.50, £27.50
    Premium Seats also available"

    The website also says "Premium and top price seats are situated in the Stalls and Dress Circle, centre and front"

    So second price tickets are £45, top price tickets are £67.50, and premium seats cost more than top price!

    This is a nonsense, and I think you should complain to Last Minute.com. You had every reason to believe that you were buying a £67.50 ticket. There is no information about premium seats on the LM.com website. And of course as seats are not allocated until you collect them at the box office, you had no way of checking.

    I'm also surprised that lastminute.com are selling tickets for this at a premium. This show is surviving, but its not been selling well from day 1. You can buy best seats (£67.50) for £39.50 from the Leicester Square booth. http://www.tkts.co.uk/whats-on-sale/ The theatre have also been "papering" this show. I've seen it twice on free tickets.
  • janiec
    janiec Posts: 24 Forumite
    Hi
    I am currently having a real problem with lastminute.com. My husband booked and paid for business accommodation through them which he was unable to gain access to. He then had to book into a hotel late at night and at great expense. He then moved to a cheaper hotel for the second night. They are being very unhelpful and while they have refunded him the cost of his original booking, they are refusing to pay him the extra it cost him. Very poor customer service indeed.
    Anyone else had similar problems??
    Janie
  • Nick_C
    Nick_C Posts: 7,436
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    janiec wrote: »
    Hi
    I am currently having a real problem with lastminute.com. My husband booked and paid for business accommodation through them which he was unable to gain access to. He then had to book into a hotel late at night and at great expense. He then moved to a cheaper hotel for the second night. They are being very unhelpful and while they have refunded him the cost of his original booking, they are refusing to pay him the extra it cost him. Very poor customer service indeed.
    Anyone else had similar problems??
    Janie

    For personal expenditure, if you pay by credit card and its more than £100 then you can claim consequential loss from the credit card company under S75.

    I don't know, but this probably doesn't help for business expenses.
  • wealdroam
    wealdroam Posts: 19,181
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    Nick_C wrote: »
    For personal expenditure, if you pay by credit card and its more than £100 then you can claim consequential loss from the credit card company under S75.

    I don't know, but this probably doesn't help for business expenses.
    No it does not apply to business to business transactions.

    The 'S75' you mention is shorthand for Section 75 of The Consumer Credit Act 1974.

    That word consumer in there gives a clue. ;)
  • I used to book with Lastminute.com a lot. I've bought all sorts of things through them, including theatre and gig tickets, flights and many, many hotels. But over the last year or so, I've noticed that prices seem less competitive and the site has become somewhat plagued by popups / pop-unders when you search.

    I wonder if it's anything to do with the company changing hands last year, and suspect that my days of booking through them might be numbered!
  • Nick_C
    Nick_C Posts: 7,436
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    wealdroam wrote: »
    No it does not apply to business to business transactions.

    The 'S75' you mention is shorthand for Section 75 of The Consumer Credit Act 1974.

    That word consumer in there gives a clue. ;)

    I'm aware of that thanks, but there just might be some flexibility in whether this could be viewed as a business expense or a personal expense. Obviously if it was a business credit card then no chance.
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,733
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    I have booked theatre tickets through lastminute on a few occasions and each time I have been pleasantly surprised by the seats we have been given. I would be very disappointed if this has changed.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • stevep99
    stevep99 Posts: 11 Forumite
    Nick_C wrote: »
    So second price tickets are £45, top price tickets are £67.50, and premium seats cost more than top price!

    This is a nonsense, and I think you should complain to Last Minute.com. You had every reason to believe that you were buying a £67.50 ticket.

    Yes, you identified the problem exactly. I thought the whole point of sites like LM was that you could get special offers/discounted tickets. In fact I actually paid more than would have been the case if I had gone direct.

    It wouldn't be a problem if LM clearly stated what they were selling, but their description is (at best) inadequate and (at worst) deceptive.

    I have complained to LM (twice). There final response ended with:

    "I have been in touch with our supplier and asked them to reconsider your case. I regret that they have declined to offer you any refund. I am sorry to disappoint you."
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