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93% of Event Ticket Providers Use ‘Drip Fees’, UK Study Finds

concert tickets drip fees

Photo Credit: Brandon Erlinger-Ford

A new study commissioned by the UK government found that 93% of event ticket providers use ‘drip fees’—fees added on after the advertised price. Here’s the latest.

The study, “Estimating the Prevalence and Impact of Online Drip Pricing” finds that nearly all businesses in the sector impose an additional fee beyond what’s advertised. Drip pricing occurs when the price for a good or service incurs additional fees as the consumer goes through the checkout process. Some of these fees can be mandatory (booking fees, taxes) while others are optional (seat upgrades, VIP packages). A consumer may be interested in a ticket at the ‘face value’ but is lured into a much higher purchase throughout the checkout process.

The UK study found that the 93% figure for ticket providers was more than double the economy as a whole. The study found that 46% of the 525 online and mobile app providers included in the sample had at least one tacked-on fee.

When taking into account just the 92 businesses surveyed in the entertainment industry, 54% of them engaged in added fees. The service fee was the most common in the entertainment category, with 33% of businesses charging them. Other drip fees include ticket delivery fees and insurance.

The UK report went one step further to define some drip fees as harmful—fees that are greater than 25% of the initial product price are described this way. Around 36% of event ticketing providers were guilty of hitting three of the five criteria the report established for harmful drip fees. That’s compared to just 20% across the economy as a whole, highlighting how much event ticketing fees like a gouge compared to buying any other service.

Across the UK economy as a whole, air travel and event tickets were the two sectors most likely to engage in drip fees for their customers.

“Our findings demonstrate that greater scrutiny of drip pricing is needed in the UK to protect consumers, with specific focus on the hospitality and entertainment sectors (due to the presence of mandatory fees in these sectors) and service fees ( as these fees consistently meet multiple criteria of harm,” the survey’s authors conclude. You can read the full survey yourself here.

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