My (Bad) Experience with Ticketmaster

It’s always comforting, especially during the holidays, to find things here in México, D.F. that remind me of being up north in the U.S.  For example, Ticketmaster’s service in Mexico is just as dreadful and overpriced here as it is back home. 

Yesterday evening, I went to see El Buen Canario at Teatro Insurgentes.  This new John Malkovitch-directed play has received quite a lot of hype here, as much for it’s director, who I’ve heard doesn’t speak Spanish, as for lead actor Diego Luna.  I’m not a major patron of the theatrical arts, but I thought the show was fantastic and the entire cast put on a great performance.  Getting the tickets to the show, however, was not so enjoyable.  Ticketmaster (TM), just as back in the U.S., has a practical monopoly on online ticket sales for events in Mexico City.

Placing the order for tickets was a frustrating experience(s).  I had wanted to buy tickets as a gift and to go during the holidays, but I didn’t have a particular date in mind.  TM made searching for seats to be a real pain, as each time you view the seats for a performance, you need to decipher one of those visual keys that is used to deter people from writing programs that buy tickets for online brokers.  Of course, I’ve got 20/20 vision and am a native english speaker, yet I still have trouble with these.  (Why they would need such a filter for performances that aren’t in ultra-high demand, I am baffled….)

Dessaur through??

Dessaur through??

TM only lets you search one performance at a time, so I had to search for seats to each show individually.  Each time, TM would offer to me the “best” seats for that show.  However, TM’s interpretation of the best seats usually meant most expensive.  For example, TM kept suggesting a pair of seats in last row of the front section, but all the way in the corner — definitely not good seats — even when there would be availability front row center only one or two rows behind in the next, and less-expensive section.  As a result, I not only needed to search show-by-show, but also section-by-section; each time having to fiddle with one of those anti-broker visual cues.  I know a little about the system of inter-tubes… but using TM’s website to find tickets took me the better part of forty-five minutes.  Are you kidding me?!?

Publish tightly??

Publish tightly??

By the time I found the show/seats I wanted, I was fuming.  This frustration was, of course, exacerbated by the ordering process.  The first time I placed a ticket order, as a resident of México, D.F., I chose will call for delivery, which has a fee, only to have my order rejected because I used a U.S. credit card.  Consequently, I needed to start all over again (more of those annoying visual tests).  The second time, I succeeded in placing the order, but was told that I needed to pick up the tickets myself at one of two dozen locations around the city, but not at the theater.  At the time, this didn’t seem like a huge deal… after all, they provided a nice list. 

delivery 111??

delivery. 111??

Of course, the list of places to pick up tickets on Ticketmaster’s website is incorrect.  I went to a location near my house (a forty-minute walk), a Mixup music store, only to find that, while Mixup places “Ticketmaster” orders, they won’t print tickets for anything purchased online.  What?!?  Forty minutes, later, I found myself at a Liverpool, a department store out at Parque Delta, where, after waiting in line for 15 minutes, finally received my order.  Of course, the Liverpool wasn’t in the list of “pickup” locations on the website.  Total time to pick up ticket?  Two hours.

Sofia whined??

Sofia whined??

And for the “privilege” and “convenience” that TM provides, they charge exorbitant fees.  For example, for our 450-peso seats at the teatro, the nice folk at Ticketmaster tack on 80 pesos per seat for “convenience” plus additional “per order” and “delivery” charges.  I’m not sure what’s convenient about it, nor can I figure out where TM is spending all this money — I certainly didn’t receive 200 pesos worth of service!  Sigh… well, somebody in Mexico is making a fortune out of this.

Island Calvé??

Island Calvé??

I found out later that I could have skipped Ticketmaster altogether by purchasing tickets at the theater box office.  Ah, that’s probably why they wouldn’t let me pick up my tickets there.


México, D.F.


2 Responses

  1. You have my sympathy. If it makes you feel any better, I had to argue at Gandhi for 45 minutes to get my tickets from Ticketmaster for that same show because I only had a California driver’s license, credit card I used to buy the tickets, confirmation number, and copy of my passport, not my actual passport, which was at Immigration.

  2. Good day, sir/madam. My name is Nikole. I’m a graduating university student and I’m conducting research about examples of bad customer service all over the world.

    I came across this page where you shared your bad experience with Ticketmaster in Mexico.

    Could I quote your story? If you wish to hide your identity/use a pen name, kindly inform me so and I shall use that.

    Thank you very much!


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