With a host of major sporting events and festivals to look forward to this summer, including the World Athletics Championships on home soil, there is always an inevitable gold rush for tickets. And while there are always losers and winners in that race, for the lucky individuals who manage to get their hands on tickets they shouldn’t have had to jump over a complex series of hurdles when working out how much they’re going to end up paying for them. No-one should get to the end of the booking process to discover that the final cost for tickets is greater than the price they originally saw them advertised for. That’s why the Committees of Advertising Practice have published a timely reminder to marketers who are promoting these types of events to ensure they are upfront and clear with their ticket pricing and don’t leave customers feeling frustrated and misled.
The Advertising Standards Authority has published a series of upheld complaints against advertisers concerning the advertising of ticket prices on their websites (AKA Group, Charing Cross Theatre Ltd, Ambassador Theatre Group, The Old Vic).
The rulings made clear that advertised prices for tickets must include all unavoidable fees and charges in quoted ticket prices, requiring promoters to be more up-front about booking fees. This ensures that consumers have all the information they need in the first instance to help them make an informed choice and to shop around should they wish to look for a better deal.
Advertisers should ensure they are clear on their websites about compulsory or additional charges when advertising ticket prices. Here are a few top tips on how to stick to the rules:
If a fee is compulsory and charged per ticket
This should be made clear when the ticket price is first displayed on the website. For example, if a ticket is priced at £50 with a compulsory £2.50 fee per ticket, the ticket should be advertised as an inclusive price of £52.50.
If the fee is a one-off transaction charge that applies to an order (regardless of the number of tickets) and can be calculated in advance
The first time a price appears it should be qualified with a reference to the existence of this charge. This should be clearly linked with an asterisk to information that includes the amount of the fee (e.g. £25 plus fee*. *Booking fee is £3 per transaction). If the first time a consumer is given the ticket price is in a hover box over an interactive map of the seating floor plan, for example, then the ticket price needs to be immediately qualified with a reference to the existence and amount of the fee.
Prices exclusive of compulsory per ticket fees
Prices can be quoted exclusive of compulsory per ticket fees provided it is made clear the circumstances in which those prices can be obtained. For example, if the prices are only for customers using a certain payment method, like buying in person at the box office, this must be made explicitly clear in the advertising (e.g. “For box office customers…”)
If you are unsure how your activities fit within the rules, please take advantage of our Bespoke Advert Review service. Our fast and confidential service is essential for advertisers, agencies, media owners/providers, who want to check how their prospective advertisements (broadcast and non-broadcast) measure up against the UK Advertising Codes.
Contact us today, and find out how we can help.