Friday, November 6, 2009

City terminate SeatExchange deal

Announced on the Official Site:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Club would like to inform supporters that the Seat Exchange service has been regrettably terminated. All transactions that have taken place for the Burnley, Hull and Chelsea games will be honoured by the Club.

Supporters who have yet to receive confirmation of their ticket for any of the above games are advised to contact Supporter Services on 0870 062 1894 option 2 or email
This leaves me in a bit of a predicament.

Access to a guaranteed seat was the main advantage of getting involved with the Sydney Blues. The SeatExchange "service" was one of the reasons I justified getting a Seasoncard, as I could recoup a bit of the money outlaid for the games that either myself or other Blues could not attend.

However, from the first match it was painfully apparent that there were problems with the system.

The service was unavailable for the first home game against Wolverhampton, and when I finally used it for the Arsenal match, I was less than impressed.

The ticket, valued at the retail of £38, was sold for £33.63. Which I could live with — I thought that cut sounded decent, especially when considering they charged the buyer an additional 15% on that retail price (£43.70 all up).

However, I received an email twelve days later that this would not be the case.
Unfortunately there was an error with some of the automated seller emails sent out recently to season ticket holders, who sold their seat for this fixture. The email may have quoted an incorrect refund. We apologise for this.

Please find below confirmation of your sale and the correct refund you will receive, payable 14 days after the fixture.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message via the Contact Us link at the foot of each page on the website.

Thank you for using the Manchester City Seat Exchange!
Consequently I received a cheque for £19.52. However, the biggest complaint came from those selling junior season tickets... people selling tickets for over forty pounds on the website received a refund of just £4.43.

SeatExchange posted the following response on Bluemoon after several complaints:
The reason for the difference exists because the Club has also determined that Seasoncard holders should not be able to profit from the sale of the ticket, but buyers should also not be able to purchase for less than the matchday price to ensure that the service does not affect sales from its own Box Office.

Furthermore, whilst the difference between the selling price and the purchase price is shared with the Club to pay for the operation of the service, the portion retained by Seat Exchange also goes towards offsetting the significant sponsorship fees we pay to support the Club as an Official Partner.

Seat Exchange provides a number of benefits to supporters and the Club, including giving Seasoncard holders greater value by being able to sell their seat for matches they cannot attend, and giving supporters the opportunity to buy additional tickets, even when areas of the Stadium or the entire match has sold out at the Club's box office.

Seat Exchange also contribute to the Club through our sponsorship fee, by sharing revenues from the secondary ticketing service itself, facilitating additional concession revenue from seats that would otherwise be empty, and increasing Seasoncard sales and renewals.
Now the first paragraph is completely reasonable — Seasoncard holders shouldn't be able to profit from selling individual games, nor should people be able to buy the ticket for less than face value. Fair enough.

The second paragraph is the one that leaves you scratching your head. "Offset the significant cost of sponsorship"? That cost is all part and parcel of being a sponsor! You pay the club a certain sum of money to advertise on the website, at the ground and in the programme, and as a result of the increased exposure, you should see an increase in sales to match that investment.

The difference between the sale price and the refund (as shown in some cases, around 90% of the purchase price), should have gone to the football club, or an equivalent charity, such as City In The Community — not to pay for the company's sponsorship of the club.

So in a way I'm glad that the arrangement has been cancelled, as SeatExchange were cowboys and rip-off merchants... however, without a service that allows me to recoup some of my season ticket investment, I'll have to consider cancelling it for next season.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enter your comment here - why not put a username so we can refer to your post?