Pricewatch reader queries: You too could have U2 tickets for €311.87

A reader is unhappy about the going rates for tickets on Ticketmaster-owned resale site Seatwave

Fergal Clancy is a U2 fan and he is not happy. "How can Ticketmaster stand over and promote ticket sales on Seatwave at more than double the face value?" he wants to know. "I bought tickets through Ticketmaster's official site via the 'expand your search' tab. It directed me to Seatwave."

When he went to that site, tickets which had a face value of €63.50 if bought through the traditional Ticketmaster channel ended up costing him €311.87. “If I want to return the tickets to Seatwave, I will incur a penalty of £50 and lose 50 per cent of the value of each ticket,” he says. “I have always dealt with Ticketmaster and always found them to be above board, but is it the case that Ticketmaster through Seatwave are selling tickets at inflated prices?”

So what is Seatwave? It is a “secondary ticketing firm” or online ticket marketplace that allows ticket sellers (unconnected to Ticketmaster) to flog tickets to concerts and sporting occasions. The ticket sellers list their tickets on Seatwave and publicise what price they’re willing to sell them for. Buyers can search the site, compare prices from multiple sellers and, if they choose, buy the tickets. Tickets for some concerts – particularly where there has been a lot of interest – are sometimes listed at prices that would make a ticket tout blush.

So what has this to do with Ticketmaster – apart from the fact that it has a link to Seatwave on its site?

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Well, last November Ticketmaster bought Seatwave. The deal allowed the company to extend its ticket resale business into markets such as Ireland, Germany, Italy and Spain. It already has a US resale platform called TicketsNow and a UK version called Get Me In.

As part of the deal, Seatwave has continued to operate separately but as "a Ticketmaster company". The official statement at the time of the sale said it "builds on Ticketmaster's successful strategy of creating best-in-class, consumer-friendly resale platforms in the UK, Australia and the US".

But back to Fergal and his ticket, which was first priced at €63.50 but is now selling for €311.87. We contacted Ticketmaster to see what it had to say and received the following statement: “Seatwave is a ticket marketplace that responds to what fans want: the ability to buy and resell tickets when tickets are no longer available on the primary market, or ticket holders can no longer use their tickets.

“Seatwave acts as a platform for individuals to list their unwanted tickets at a price that they choose. These tickets can then be purchased by someone who is happy with that price, and might otherwise not be able to attend the particular event. Ticket holders set the price and list their tickets for resale, not Ticketmaster. Nor does Ticketmaster divert tickets to this site.

“Seatwave was introduced in response to market demand for a safe and secure method of resale of tickets for sold-out events. The seller of tickets on the Seatwave marketplace needs to be aware of the terms and conditions under which they have purchased these tickets, in particular where resale is precluded.

“Seatwave offers a 100 per cent money-back guarantee to the ticket purchaser as a layer of consumer protection, but will not protect sellers that attempt to sell tickets fraudulently.”

Irish Water customer denied free fix due to ‘call centre error’

"I suggest that Irish Water should be more honest with regard to its claims regarding the repair of leaks, writes Aidan Quinn, referring to the company's First Fix Free campaign. "The company is not providing a first-leak free-fix service," he says.

“On Thursday evening, October 1st, I rang Irish Water to report a major leak on my driveway; the water main had burst and water was gushing out. This pipe had obviously been leaking for some considerable time – my first bill showed a usage of 56,507 litres for three months, simply not possible in a house occupied by two adults outside of office hours,” he says.

“Irish Water’s response was that I didn’t qualify for the first-leak-fix scheme as my water meter had not sent an alarm indicating a fault. I was told that they could not do anything until the meter sent an alarm, even though I was looking at water gushing out of the pipe and that the pipe had patently been leaking since the meter was installed. I was told that my only course of action was to arrange for a private contractor to fix the leak; Irish Water was not going to do anything.

“It is somewhat galling to see Irish Water claiming that they are providing a first leak fix scheme when they failed to respond at all to my situation. This despite my having paid all bills so far (something which I will be changing). I consider this totally misleading advertising by them and utterly unacceptable.”

When we got in touch with the company, it provided us with the following update: “During the meter reading process the water meter alerts Irish Water if there is a constant flow of water to a property throughout a 48-hour period. Leaks can arise in between meter reads, and this will not be registered on our systems. In these instances, Irish Water arranges for an engineer to visit the property and confirm the nature and location of the leak. Once the leak is confirmed to be on the customer’s property, the customer is referred to the First Fix Free Scheme.

“Irish Water has carried out this procedure hundreds of times but unfortunately in this incident, due to a call centre error, this standard procedure was not followed. This error has been addressed with those involved and we have put steps in place to ensure that this incident is not repeated.

“We have contacted the householder and have apologised for this error and responded to the concerns raised in the letter regarding the water consumption for the property.”