Eventim Fees Ruled Illegal

A Bremen district court ruled that German ticketing giant CTS Eventim’s print-at-home ticketing fees are illegal, although the ruling is not yet legally binding.  

Photo: eventim.com

Also ruled illegitimate are processing charges placed on top of shipping fees. The court case resulted from a legal complaint by the consumer advice center of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), which stated that CTS Eventim wasn’t allowed to charge ticket buyers a print-at-home fee, as printing tickets at home did not put CTS Eventim to expense.

The complaint also stated that Eventim charged inflated shipping costs, which included so-called processing fees. When the company put tickets for AC/DC’s 2015 Germany tour up for sale, it charged euro 19.90 for the shipment of two tickets, and euro 29.90 for three to four tickets

. It was dubbed “premium shipping” for no obvious reason. The court reasoned that ticketing companies are contractually obliged to deliver the tickets to their customers, and that they cannot charge additional fees where no additional costs are generated for the company. Eventim’s Senior Vice President Legal & Business Development, Rainer Appel, told Pollstar that the company deems the verdict “grossly wrong” and intends to appeal.

This means that, for now, nothing changes for ticket buyers. The consumer agency NRW advises customers to keep their receipts when purchasing tickets that include a print-at-home fee. Should the highest court uphold the verdict, those would come in handy. German concert promoter Berthold Seliger has been vocal about what he describes as “scandalous surcharges” for more than three years. He called the court decision “long overdue.” In his book “Das Geschäft mit der Musik” (“The business with music”), he describes the business practices of ticketing companies in detail.

Seliger carves out three main areas of concern, two of which have been addressed by the court ruling. He says that even the standard shipping fee of euro 4.90 is far too high and points out that the regular postage for letters is 70 cents. “Even if you include costs for envelopes, personnel and software, it becomes obvious that shipping costs of euro 4.90 are more than three times as much as the real costs,” he writes in a comment on the court verdict. He emphasizes that companies selling online already retain the booking fee, which traditionally went to the booking offices, as well as ticketing fees, which are usually around euro 1 per ticket.

“Ticketing corporations, that bear none of the risks of promoting concerts and run a purely commission based business, are the true profiteers of the ticket sale: for years now, they have discovered a method of enriching themselves through additional fees at the expense of ticket buyers,” Seliger writes.

He also points out one area that hasn’t been addressed by the court: secondary ticketing. He is baffled by the fact that legislators, who, according to Seliger, tend to overindulge in regulating, cannot introduce simple legislation prohibiting above mentioned fees and the sale of tickets at the face value, which promoters and artists agree upon.

“The big corporations would still earn enough, while diversity and culture would be protected,” he wrote. As Eventim isn’t the only vendor cultivating the practice of print-at-home fees, the consumer advice center of NRW also sent extra-judicial cease-and-desist warnings to ADticket, Ticketmaster, ReserviX, easyticket and BonnTicket. These could still be resolved outside of court, should the respective companies sign the letters. In addition, a judicial lawsuit has been filed against D-ticket.