For a buyer, it can be frustrating to see a pair of $16 tickets, only to get to checkout and see the total come to $45 because of various fees. Some websites don’t let you know about these fees until the last minute, drawing you into the sale at a certain price, only to squeeze a few more dollars out of you at the last minute.

piggyTo make sure you’re an informed buyer, the folks at SeatGeek have broken down how service fees work, and have provided tips on how to best use them to your advantage. Hopefully, by the end of this post you will have the information you need to save money next time you buy tickets.

Why do fees exist?

Secondary market ticketing websites provide the service of connecting sellers with buyers. In order to make a profit out of these transactions they must charge a fee in these exchanges.

How do fees work?

When charging these fees, secondary market websites have three options: charge the seller, charge the buyer, or charge both. In reality who pays this fee doesn’t matter, because the seller will just adjust the listing price to match their expected payout. If the buyer pays the fees, they will list the ticket for less, and if the seller pays the fees they will list the ticket for more.
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Some secondary market sites charge total fees upward of 25 percent. This can make two $20 tickets go from costing $40 to $50 simply because of these fees. Then, on top of that consumers can be charged a shipping fee and a transactional fee, bumping the total up even more.

How do I avoid surprise fees?

The easiest way to avoid having sticker shock at the final purchase price is to shop at a website like SeatGeek that allows you to include fees in the listing price. While the sellers on SeatGeek still charge fees, SeatGeek bundles these numbers into the ticket price, so that a buyer never pays more for a ticket than the initial amount they see. This protects consumers from any last second price jumps, and makes for a better buying experience.

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