Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

This week’s problems relate to One Direction tickets and a phone repair

One Direction fans on the opening night of the band’s tour in Australia last week. Photograph: David Mariuz/Getty Images

One Direction fans on the opening night of the band’s tour in Australia last week. Photograph: David Mariuz/Getty Images

Mon, Sep 30, 2013, 01:00

Online ticket transactions that go in one direction only

A reader called Mella has a complaint about Ticketmaster. “Last June, myself and my husband purchased 10 pitch tickets for the One Direction concert in Croke Park next summer for my nine-year-old’s Communion present. My daughter was over the moon,” she writes.

“A few weeks after getting the tickets, one of my husband’s colleagues told him that no under-14s were allowed on the pitch. He queried this with Ticketmaster, and they told him the same. This is despite the fact that, when he was buying the tickets, there was no prompt to say that you had to be over 14 to get a pitch ticket,” she writes.

He has been in correspondence with Ticketmaster to try to get the tickets changed. He has pointed out that he spent more than €650 on the tickets “in good faith, and at no stage during the purchase process was I given a warning or advice relating to age restrictions that may apply”.

The company told him it appreciated his circumstances, but it was not for turning. It said: “Once a booking has been confirmed it cannot be cancelled. Policies set forth by our clients prohibit us issuing exchanges or refunds after a purchase has been made, unless an event has been cancelled or rescheduled. This is made clear at the time of booking. Therefore, on this occasion, we are unfortunately unable to assist you with your request. It is up to the customer to read the terms and conditions before committing with a purchase.”

On the Ticketmaster website, while a pop-up alerts would-be buyers about the restricted access to the pitch, it could easily be missed, particularly by parents rushing to buy tickets that are likely to be gone should they hesitate (tickets for popular shows can sell out in minutes).

Ticketmaster said “every effort was made prior to tickets going on sale to inform customers of the age restriction”, and all “advertising for this show . . . expressly indicated the age restrictions in place”.

It said it had “made every effort to assist customers who, despite best endeavours, incorrectly purchased tickets in areas of the venue that they were asked not to if children were under 14. Customers have been asked to contact the event organiser, who will assess the request and, where possible, provide a resolution.”


A breakdown in communications over a phone repair
A Galway reader, Mathew, has been having a tough time with a phone-repair company in the city. His phone developed a small crack in the external glass a couple of months ago. He got quotes ranging from €250 to €99, with the cheapest coming from Electronic Partners.

“I asked why they were so much cheaper, and they said it was because they are a much bigger company and so can get the parts cheaper. I naively accepted this and when asked for a deposit, paid in full.”

He waited six weeks for the part to come in, then left his phone in. When he collected it the same day, the crack in the glass was gone there but there was significant marking to the display beneath, and the touchscreen worked only intermittently.

“The glass had been fitted so poorly that it moved when pressed, and there was a clear gap between the glass and plastic case at the top, through which moisture could easily get in,” he writes.

He says he was told that he should have known that replacing the glass could lead to damage to “the digitiser and screen” beneath, that separating the glass from these parts was very delicate, and that in 5 per cent of cases the procedure was unsuccessful. He agreed to allow the company do a further repair at a cost of €150. Then he changed his mind and decided to get the repair done elsewhere. And he went looking for a refund.

“They insisted that I had agreed to let them ‘complete’ the repair for €150, and that there would be no refund because they had ‘fixed the crack in the glass’.”

After some over and back, the company said that if he gave the glass back, it would refund the €99 less a €30 diagnostic fee. The manager said it would be two days before it could remove the glass, so our reader said he would get it removed elsewhere. “I went back to Electronic Partners one final time, with the glass they’d replaced, and asked for a refund, but again they refused. What I need to know is: what do I do now? At the very least I feel I’m entitled to a refund, if not the full cost of making the phone usable again.”

We contacted the store, and the management said that while there might have been “miscommunication” on the first visit, it had done its best to resolve the issue subsequently.

They said that when our reader came in to collect the phone, and noticed the line on the screen, he was offered a full refund, which he refused, preferring to put the money into the more complete repair. The shop ordered the full unit, and, when he came back announcing that he had changed his mind, offered to give him back €70 if they removed the screen themselves.

“We could not take out the screen immediately because our engineers were booked up,” a store manager said. “Once he had allowed someone else to work on the phone and take out the screen, he voided any warranty he may have had with us, and we could not give him a refund.”