Recently, I was vacationing with friends in Chicago, IL and we decided to purchase tickets to the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise sailing Friday, 09/02/2011, at 10:00am. Since we didnt want to take a chance of the 10am sailing being sold out, we decided to buy the tickets a day in advance through Ticketmasters website. I paid a premium of about $50 purchasing on Ticketmaster rather than through the box office.
At about 13:30 CST on 09/01/2011, I purchased the tickets on Ticketmaster.com. I used an Iphone to buy the tickets and, with the small phone screen, couldnt really see that the date of the cruise when I hit the purchase button. Total cost $256.24 for six $35 tickets. Later that night at about 5pm CST, I printed the tickets at the hotel business center.
When I read the tickets, I noticed I had inadvertently purchased tickets for a sailing at 10am that morning. Basically, Ticketmaster.com allowed me to purchase river cruise tickets for a cruise that had already sailed 3 hours earlier in the day.
Thinking common sense would prevail, I sent an email to their customer service folks. Minutes later realizing a reply may come too late for the 10am sailing the next morning, I politely called their customer service folks (about 1740 CST on 09/01/2011) to straighten out the problem. After about ten minutes on hold, I spoke to a very unprofessional customer service representative (CSR). I tried to explain my situation and the CSR proceeded to tell me there was nothing that could be done. He claimed that I bought tickets for an event sailing at 17:30 on 09/01/2001. I tried to interject and explain that I had the printed tickets in my hand showing 10am. He wouldnt even let me speak. I had to hang up the phone.
I called back again, each time holding for 5-10 minutes and each time verifying my account information, then speaking to another CSR who asked what the problem was then put me right back on hold. No explanation of where the call was being sent (IE. billing, complaints, etc.). I then spoke to a female who was very helpful (I later found out she worked in the Charleston, WV Office) and empathetic. At first she said that the event had closed on her computer five minutes before and that she could not change the tickets. I explained that I had called 30 minutes earlier, been put on hold for at least 20 minutes total, and spoke to a very unhelpful CSR. She made a real effort to help. She placed me on hold for about 15 minutes so she could work something out with her supervisor and the event operator. After about 25 minutes, I was hung up on. Probably just a mistake since the CSR was very helpful.
I called back again, on hold for 5-10 minutes; CSR answered then transferred call again. On hold again for about 5-10 minutes then spoke to another CSR. I asked to either speak to a supervisor or to speak with the CSR that helped to try to work out the issue earlier. She was very condescending and claimed I never spoke to a female. She refused to forward my call to a supervisor until I, again, explained the problem. She finally agreed that I did, in fact, speak to a female CSR from the Charleston office minutes earlier but claimed there was no way she could contact her (I guess no outgoing phone lines in a call center with hundreds of phone lines).
Finally, I begged to speak to a supervisor. She finally placed me on hold and, after 10 minutes or so, I spoke to a gentleman who claimed he was a supervisor. He said he could not help me and suggested I place a stop payment on my credit card.
In short, because of a keystroke error on my part and Ticketmaster.com allowing me to purchase tickets for an event that had already taken place hours earlier, I spent nearly two hours on the phone trying to straighten the problem out while trying to enjoy a weekend vacation in Chicago, IL. All this after paying Tickmasters exorbitant convenience charges and handling fees.
I plan to avoid Ticketmaster in the future in favor of options such as Craigs List, EBay, or Stub Hub. I would like to point out how large companies, such as Live Nation, have totally lost sight of how to take care of the customer. Im sure the talk in the boardroom is not how to better train their CSRs or how to take better care of their customers. The talk is probably how they can grow faster. Who they can takeover next (IE. TicketsNow) or how they can squeeze more money out of us!
I have sent a letter to Nathan Hubbard requesting a written response.
Why do CSRs always feel the need to verify your phone numbers? However, when you get cut off, they never bother to call you back.