Wednesday, February 14, 2007

True, you made no assurances that presalers would get tickets for their $100.

True, we acquired something additional for our $100, i.e., the right to discuss the ripoff with other bummed-out presalers on your "premium message boards."

But really, this is a swindle and a fiasco. Yesterday you reported that it was possible to pay the $100 at Ticketmaster while buying the tickets on Wednesday. Today I visited the Ticketmaster site and was told I had to have made prior arrangements at your site, if I wanted to do today's presale. To pay the $100 in a single transaction through Ticketmaster, I have to come back Thursday.

But it was 11:55 AM, and I had five minutes to go to your site and drop the money there. So I did, and nothing happened. I got a "thanks for the $100" message dropped immediately into my email account, but nothing containing the passcode that would get me into the presale on Ticketmaster.

Because I'm a genius and I've got skillz, I did manage to navigate my way through your website to a page that would ultimately give me a passcode — after two or more minutes passed and I realized the promised email wasn't coming anytime soon (it did arrive, at 12:42:26 PM, long past the point where it could do me any good).

So at approximately 12:02 PM I clipped my passcode from your website and pasted it into the Ticketmaster window, so I could buy my four tickets to the Boston show. Naturally, by this time, there were no more presale tickets left, unless I wanted to buy just one and sit by myself.

I have to ask you, then: my $100 purchased me the right to buy from a pool of how many seats at the Fenway show? Twelve? Fifteen? What a fraud. And it sure was a curve ball to discover at the last minute that the plan wasn't as advertised yesterday, and I had to go to your site to set up my "Fan Club" account. The clock certainly ticked away out from under me while I did that, and all for naught. I suppose the policy change had something to do with increasing traffic at your site. The money grab goes on.

The fact that I paid a C-note to this exploitative venture of yours — with no benefit accruing to me other than that I now know I contributed something to the newest wing on Sting's sprawling castle — well, it really is, as someone once wrote, "a humiliating kick in the crotch."

My questions to you now are these: tomorrow at noon, when Stage Two of the presale begins, will I be able to punch in my heretofore useless presale access code? Or will I be required by Ticketmaster to purchase the Fan Club Bundle, so that I end up paying $100 one more time? Will there be more than a half-dozen tickets released to presalers tomorrow? If not, how about to the general public on Saturday? My guess is 40% of the stadium goes to ticket brokers, 40% to corporate sponsors, 15% to this Ticketmaster Auction abomination I just happened to discover a moment ago, and maybe 5% to us proles who actually bought the Synchronicity album in its LP format way back when.

I have half a mind to raise this issue with the consumer protection division in my state Attorney General's office. I imagine the attorneys there would like to know how many tickets you made available today.