No-one likes paying extortionate booking charges and unfortunately, with Ticketmaster’s almost monopoly, you have to put up with some pretty hefty ones when getting gig tickets. In the past year or so I’ve been trying to find the best way to minimise these charges as they are simply unjustifiable. As an example, I wanted to get tickets to Ballyturk which is running in the Olympia Theatre at the moment. If you buy tickets online at ticketmaster.ie, you’ll pay a whopping €5.95 *per ticket* for a Circle seat. If that was a once off transaction cost, it would still be expensive but if you’re looking to buy for a group, it can be prohibitively so. Ticketmaster state:
Service Charge is 12.5% of the ticket face value with a minimum of €1.50 (Republic Of Ireland) or £1.00 (Northern Ireland) up to a maximum of €6.85 (Republic Of Ireland) or £5.50 (Northern Ireland) including VAT.
The solution in most cases is to go to the actual box office of the venue. There will charge little or no booking fee and I avoided €23.80 in fees when I went to the Olympia directly for Ballyturk. Some venues don’t have box offices (like the o2, festivals etc) so in that case you’re better off going to a Ticketmaster kiosk. The fees are generally significantly less than online. The last time I used the one in Jervis St, I paid €2.05 booking fee for the entire transaction (3 tickets). I can’t seem to find definitive figures on kiosk booking charges so it’s worth asking in person at a particular one.
UPDATE: As Ken points out below, use a debit card if you can when purchasing as credit cards will incur higher fees.