Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting Ripped Off Online

I've started to really hate buying things online. At one stage it frustrated enough for me to complain to the commerce commission.

The problem is the "hidden" costs. For example, when booking a flight, with every page you click to, more charges are added by default and you then have to make sure all of those check boxes are unchecked before you click on... Failure to treat a page like a game of "Where's Wally" results in paying more than you are lead to believe - generally for no value, fringe case items.

My latest gripe is over a ticket for an event. The ticket itself was only $15. Checking on the booking fee I was surprised to find it was only $0.35 for a payment processing fee. I'm used to the additional $4 or whatever.... but $0.35! That's brilliant.

After entering in my credit card details though, I realised I'd just paid $23.35! What the fuck??? I went over the receipt and found they'd slipped in a $8 "Order Processing Fee". $8 added to a $15 ticket after the fantastic misdirect of the payment processing fee... That's just scummy...

Okay, so I get the event organisers have no control over these costs. Oft times a venue stipulates the ticketing agent you must use in which case the perfect venue can end up screwing over the customer to events. This probably isn't so bad for high price events (what's $8 on top of a $100 ticket?) or one off events. If you're anticipating more events, and those events are contingent upon you getting enough interest for people to go to your events, that $8 on a $15 (more than half as much again for a ticket) costs a hell of a lot more than just $8. I'm finding myself a lot less willing in the future to pay for travel out of town, pay for accommodation and get stung on the ticket for the event. It's only $8... but it's $8 more on something that's advertised as $15... and that's significant.

But what really annoys me is that this is seen as normal. Especially over the Internet. If you walked into a store and saw an advertised price of $15, went to buy the item and they suddenly put $8.35 on top it, would you be happy? What makes it okay on the Internet?