Ticketmaster free tickets website off to rough start

Lawsuit settlement has Ticketmaster customers rushing to check out free vouchers

Ticketmaster freebie website off to rough start
Bob Brown/NetworkWorld

Those outrageous Ticketmaster fees you've perhaps grudgingly been paying for years have indeed been found to be outrageous, and now the company has been forced to dole out $400M in vouchers that can be used to buy new tickets.

For people like me, who have bought many Red Sox, Celtics and concert tickets over the years, this could be quite a windfall. Or not.

As you can read on the FAQ page for Schlesinger et. al. vs. Ticketmaster, the ticket brokerage firm was found to have used an unclear fee system and overcharged those who had tickets shipped to them between Oct. 21, 1999 and Feb. 27, 2013.

So, here's what to know. If you received an email from Ticketmaster over the past month or so suggesting that you just might have an award coming to you, it's probably for real (I wouldn't be surprised if schemers have jumped on this though). In fact, you don't really have to fish out the email if you already nixed it. Just go to your Ticketmaster account and check under Active Vouchers if you suspect you've purchased tickets during the period specified above.

Be warned, though, that might very well get something that looks like this ("We are currently experiencing difficulties. Please check back again at a later time."). 

ticketmaster Bob Brown/NetworkWorld

But keep trying -- I did, and eventually got a list of vouchers. You get $2.25 discount codes for each purchase transaction (up to 17 of them) and up to $5 codes for each order shipped via UPS (up to 15 of them). Vouchers must be used by June 18, 2020.

screen shot 2016 06 20 at 4.28.42 pm Bob Brown/NetworkWorld

Assuming you get through and find your vouchers, the next trick is gaining access to a list of events posted via Live Nation that you can use the free ticket vouchers for. In other words, you're not going to be able to use the vouchers for just anything (a lot of my tickets, for example, were for sports events, so I won't be able to use vouchers for future games). But as of Monday afternoon, the Live Nation events listing page was not available. You can also get on an email list to be updated periodically on events that have been added.

UPDATE: The Live Nation events site was accessible as of Tuesday morning, and as expected, the selection of events you can use your vouchers for are limited, though do include some popular acts such as the Cure, Modest Mouse and Weezer. About 400 events are listed, but those are spread across the United States and Canada, and at least in Massachusetts, are currently listed to the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, which can be a real pain to get to or leave. Hopefully, a broader range of shows/venues will be added as we go along, but hopes aren't high.

ticketmaster events Bob Brown

Sampling of events you can use Ticketmaster vouchers on

No doubt there are thousands of Ticketmaster users who are waking up to the fact now that they're owed something and they're racing to find out what they can get. I'm guessing expectations should be kept in check. As anyone who has ever gotten shut out of buying tickets online seconds after an event goes on sale knows, scalpers have infiltrated the major ticket outlets big time. So between the scalpers and hoards of other legit ticket buyers who want to use their vouchers, chances are that being able to use passes to get into things you actually want to get into probably won't be easy. Something along the lines of trying to use frequent flier miles in between all the black-out dates.

I really hope I'll be pleasantly surprised and that people will be able to redeem their vouchers for events they want to attend. If not, don't be surprised if you suddenly wind up with random Air Supply or Nickelback concert tickets as gifts.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.