Looking to see Disney’s The Lion King at the Overture Center? Avoid this ticket trap
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Disney’s The Lion King is coming to the Overture Center next month. The excitement of the hit Broadway show in town also brings with it a word of warning from one Madison woman.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, purchased six tickets for herself and her grandkids to see The Lion King through the website, TicketSales.com.
She was charged $3,264.00 for the tickets, a $946 service charge, a $15 delivery fee, and $232.40 in sales tax. Her total came out to $4,457.91, which was far more than she anticipated or planned to spend.
She says the price for what she was charged for the tickets was not what was initially listed online and the fees remained hidden until after her credit card was charged.
After weeks of back-and-forth with TicketSales.com, the woman filed a fraud complaint with her credit card company and the transaction was successfully disputed.
This is not the only complaint against the third party ticket website. As of May 1, 2023, The Better Business Bureau has collected 1,052 consumer complaints about TicketSales.com, issuing an ‘F Rating’ for the company.
Monica Horton, the spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of North Texas, says most of the complaints against the Dallas company are for false advertising or sales issues.
“In 2018, we started receiving complaints against the business,” said Horton. “We’re hearing from consumers that when they are purchasing tickets on TicketSales.com a lot of times there are hidden fees that they’re unaware of until you get right up to the point where you’re being charged for the tickets.”
Horton says the BBB has received a response from TicketSales.com.
“The company has been responsive recently to complaints,” said Horton. “They are trying to take care and resolve some of the issues that they’ve had.”
Because the company is not accredited with the BBB and has a F rating, its recommended consumers avoid using this website to secure tickets to any event. The BBB encourages other customers who have had issues with TicketSales.com, or other ticket broker websites, to file a complaint through the BBB website.
“We do have some success stories where we have had the opportunity to work with businesses and help them identify these patterns and eliminate the pattern and the issue of some of the complaints,” said Horton.
Hugo Christensen, the Performance Manager at the Overture Center Ticket Office, says third party websites price gouging or scamming customers completely out of legitimate tickets happens more frequently when a high-profile show comes to town.
“I’d say for every Broadway show, Lion King or otherwise, there are at least three to five instances for the entire run,” said Christensen. “Hamilton was an especially bad one, just due to its popularity.”
Most of these websites will upcharge the tickets by adding in hidden fees. Christensen says seats to enjoy a show in Madison should never break the bank and many customers don’t know this if they’re unfamiliar with the ticket buying process.
“It can be truly heartbreaking because people can spend upwards of hundreds of dollars on tickets that were maybe anywhere from $25 to $50,” said Christensen. “I’ve seen fees upwards of 300% higher than the ticket price.”
He says some predatory websites will scam people out of a seat to see the show by never delivering the tickets or delivering tickets to seats that are already taken.
“There’s no way for Overture to guarantee that those tickets exist. There’s no way for us to guarantee that those tickets are going to end up in your hand for that show,” said Christensen. “Even if they do, they’re probably going to be at a huge increase in price.”
The Overture Center does not sell any tickets through a third-party website, but does charge a processing fee for tickets purchased over the phone or online. However, the 15% fee is capped at $25 a ticket.
RESEARCH TICKET VALUE
Experts advise those looking to buy tickets to see any performance, locally or otherwise, to do their research.
“Know what the value of those tickets actually is so you can be aware if you’re being overcharged,” advises Horton.
Christensen recommends sellers trust their gut if something doesn’t feel right about a purchase.
“We want to help you,” he said. “We want to make sure you’re getting the best tickets you can at the best price you can and that’s going to be through us.”
To purchase tickets to see Disney’s The Lion King through the Overture Center website, click HERE. For more ticket buying tips from the Overture Center, CLICK HERE.
If you’re a victim of price gouging or a ticket scam, you’re encouraged to file a complaint with the BBB website about the company you purchased tickets from. You’re also advised to contact your credit card company and dispute the transaction right away.
The Overture Center is not able to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets purchased through a ticket broker or third party.
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