Not so much a Friday What-If? this Friday as just a general rant. I was on-line purchasing two tickets to the movies tonight, using Fandango, and during checkout I noticed a “convenience fee” of $1 per ticket on the invoice (image from webpage at left).
Convenient for whom? Using a website to pre-purchase your ticket is convenient? Or is the convenience not having to stand in line to purchase the ticket in the first place?
Fees such as this one I generally call “dick you fees,” as near as I can tell they only exist to screw you out of more money than the advertised price. Most type of fees I think fall into this category: reconnection fees, service fees, processing fees, etc.. Some types are valid, sure. If my power gets shut off and they have to roll a truck to my house to turn it off/on, then yeah, there’s an expense. But for the telephone company, for example, it’s just clicking a check-box on a computer screen to turn my service on/off. My personal favorite is the “processing fee” for stuff like loan applications and such. We’re going to do this paperwork that we’re required to in order to conduct this transaction, but we’re going to charge you for doing it.
This one, however, confused me. I searched everything I could find on the Fandango site and the only thing I found related to fees was a small blurb on their purchase policy web page:
Fandango sells tickets on behalf of our theatre partners. Fandango does not set ticket prices, determine show times, or control ticket availability and inventory.
Digging deeper, into their FAQ page I finally found an explanation for the fee, and here’s the excerpt from the FAQ explaining the fee:
As a free service to all of our users, Fandango provides show times, movie listings, and theater information for most theaters in the United States. We provide this service free of charge so that our customers always have access to the information they need to plan a trip to the movies.
However, Fandango is an independent company and does not receive any portion of the theater ticket revenue. The nominal per ticket convenience charge, currently ranging between $0.75 and $1.50 depending on geographic location, is charged by Fandango so that we may continue providing our customers with a convenient ticketing service. The exact per ticket convenience charge is listed on the Review Order page (the page just before you complete your purchase).
I’m paying a fee so everyone can continue to get free movie show times and listings. Seriously? You mean to tell me, the Fandango service is not collecting any money from the theaters? They don’t get a cut of the credit cards ran through their website? They have to pay for the 20 minutes of Fandango advertising I have to sit through waiting for the movie to start? They get no revenue from the on-line ads they have all over their site? Man, how badly mismanaged is this company that they are losing out on all of those other revenue sources and have to resort to charging me a buck a ticket to use their site?
I don’t mind paying a fee if there’s a value I’m receiving in return, I only get ticked off when someone tries to hide or lump them in to “general” fees that don’t pertain to anything. Call a spade a spade and label the fee what it’s for, don’t try to hide it in euphemisms.