Robert Smith Prevails in Fight With Ticketmaster

Fans charged 'unduly high' fees will get refunds of up to $10 per ticket
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2023 1:20 PM CDT
Updated Mar 17, 2023 8:39 AM CDT
The Cure's Robert Smith Has a Word or Two for Ticketmaster
Robert Smith of the Cure performs in the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Oct. 14.   (Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
UPDATE Mar 17, 2023 8:39 AM CDT

When Robert Smith speaks, Ticketmaster apparently listens. The Cure frontman, who said in an all-caps series of tweets Wednesday that he was "SICKENED" by the high fees tacked onto tickets for the band's 2023 US and Canada dates, announced Thursday that fans would be getting some money back, Rolling Stone reports. Some fans who bought $20 tickets had complained that Ticketmaster fees exceeded the ticket price. Smith, still using all caps, tweeted that "AFTER FURTHER CONVERSATION, TICKETMASTER HAVE AGREED WITH US THAT MANY OF THE FEES BEING CHARGED ARE UNDULY HIGH." He said that in a gesture of goodwill, Ticketmaster will issue a $10 per ticket refund to verified fan accounts that bought tickets at the lowest price and $5 to those that bought higher-priced tickets.

Mar 16, 2023 1:20 PM CDT

When Robert Smith gets mad, he types in all caps. We know this because of how the 63-year-old frontman of the UK rock band the Cure responded when he got wind of how much Ticketmaster was charging for tickets to his group's latest concert lineup. Fans were able to start buying tickets for the Cure's 2023 tour on Wednesday, but they soon realized that, even though the base cost for a ticket was often affordable—prices were noted as low as $20—the fees tacked on by Ticketmaster led to a final cost that raised eyebrows. One person posted the tab for a pair of $20 tickets in Phoenix that ended up costing about $75, per the BBC; another person paid nearly that amount for one ticket in the same city.

Meanwhile, one customer bought four $20 tickets and saw a final bill of $172.10 after all the service, facility, and order processing fees were added. "I EXPECTED @Ticketmaster fees to be annoying, but not this insane," one of the Phoenix customers wrote. The fees also appeared to vary by venue. Smith soon heard about the situation and was "appalled," per Variety. "I am as sickened as you all are by today's Ticketmaster 'fees' debacle," he posted on Twitter late Wednesday (in all caps). "I have been asking how they are justified." He also wanted to make clear that "the artist has no way to limit" the fees.

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Per the BBC, part of Smith's ire comes from the fact that when the Cure announced their upcoming tour, the band put out a statement noting it hoped the concerts would be "affordable for all fans," adding, "We have a very wide (and we think very fair) range of pricing at every show." The band also said it wouldn't sell "platinum" or other "dynamically priced" tickets based on demand, and that tickets wouldn't be transferable to keep scalpers at bay. Smith told his fans on social media that he'd check back in with any answers if he received any, and he also issued one final thought: "that if no-one bought from scalpers ... the scalpers would go away." (More The Cure stories.)

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