Mr. Howard, tear down these $4 Mets ticket transfer fees!

I got a letter…

Shannon,

I wanted to bring to your attention a Mets-ticket related issue that has really bothered me over the last few years that you may or may not be aware of. Currently, the Mets charge a fee  per ticket for a season ticket holder to electronically forward a PDF of their ticket to a 3rd party. As a former Mets season ticket holder (and as a former Rangers and current Jets and Knicks season ticket holder), I often find myself in a position where I am going to a game with a friend (or even one my season ticket partners) but we are travelling separately. Thus, using the physical hard tickets can be inconvenient because then we all need to wait for everyone to arrive before entering. The electronic forwarding system has been an extremely efficient and helpful addition to my season ticket subscription life…

…except when I have to pay for it…. the notion of having to pay a fee to email tickets that I already own and have paid for is absurd. And it’s not like it costs the Mets anything to process the transfer. It’s an email.

The reason why I bring this to your attention is because it strikes me as precisely the type of thing that with proper media attention could actually effect a change in policy. The new regime has spoken on and on about a new culture and a new relationship with the fan base, so let’s see some of that in action. End the pettiness!

Best,
Av

Having never used this service myself I thought I should poke around.  The information below was on Mets.com yesterday morning as I ate my bagels.

Once you sign in as an eligible Account Holder, click the “My Account” link at the top of the page, and then click the “Ticket Transfers” button.

You have the option to transfer all or some of your tickets for any one game in a transaction.

You have the option to pay the $4 transaction fee or have the Recipient pay for the transaction fee.

The Ticket Transfer Recipient has 48 hours to accept or reject the transfer invitation. In either case, you will receive an e-mail advising of the Recipient’s decision. If no action is taken by the Recipient within 48 hours, the transfer invitation will automatically be cancelled and you and the Recipient will receive an e-mail advising of the transfer cancellation.

Once your ticket transfer has been accepted by the Recipient, the barcodes on your original tickets will be deactivated, so they will not be accepted for admission. Do not discard your tickets until you receive an e-mail acknowledgement that the Recipient has accepted the transfer.

You may cancel a transfer within the 48 hour window only if the Recipient has not yet acted on the invitation. To cancel a pending invitation, click the “My Account” and “View/Cancel Pending Transfer” links upon signing in.

A Ticket Transfer transaction becomes final once the Recipient accepts the transfer. No cancellations or refunds will be made following the Ticket Transfer acceptance.

Ticket Transfers must be initiated and accepted by game time.

Hmmm, so if I understand correctly – if I wanted to transfer my two tickets to Media Goon it would cost us $8. ($4 per ticket). –   updated: readers suggest it its one $4 fee for up to 4 tix.

That does seem like a lot of money for a barcode generation.

I poked around the Yankees and found this link which suggests a $2 fee in the Bronx  (a number confirmed by Stadium Insider) – although it’s possible I found an outdated website.

The football teams offer some sort of ticket forwarding but I couldn’t determine the price.

Then there are the Knicks.

Be an MVP to your friends, family or clients. Simply e-mail them your tickets from “MY KNICKS ACCOUNT MANAGER”. It’s the easiest way to share your tickets. It’s available up to one hour before game time. And it’s free.

The Knicks know something.  They have some magic technology which allows free ticket transfer.  Have they monetized it with an advertisement?

I’ll be half-way reasonable.   Perhaps a small fee is needed.  A human must work in the IT office that keeps the computer working.   He makes a salary, benefits, takes up some real estate somewhere, uses lighting and heat.  I could understand the fee covering the cost of the IT guy…..but $4 a ticket?

Seems high to me.

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15 comments
Geoff Gordon
Geoff Gordon

I am actually a past and current season ticket holder and I agree with geting rid of the whole ticket transfer fee. Last season, I did actually scan all 81 pages of my 4 tickets, just in case. A couple of times, I printed out my ticket and went to the ticket scanner with it. Worked, no problem. Now if a ticket taker, would have grabbed the ticket, it was a flimsy sheet of paper, but the barcode scanned. Just gotta make sure its a clear scan.

BklynGuy
BklynGuy

I'm a season ticketholder, have used the Mets' "Ticket Transfer" service and can fill in a couple of holes here. First, to confirm, it's $4 per transfer, and the transfer can include anywhere from 1 to 4 tickets per game. Second, the transfer automatically cancels – that is, invalidates – the hard ticket(s)' bar code(s); the PDF ticket(s) include(s) a new bar code. Third, once the PDF ticket(s) is/are emailed and accepted, the recipient can then forward that email (containing the PDF or PDFs) without charge, as it then is just an image that he owns and can do with as he pleases. (Maybe his buddy sent him 2 tix and he then wants to send one of them to HIS buddy whom he'll meet at the seats, or maybe he wants/needs to transfer his e-tix from one device of his own to another.) Also, the recipient has (or at least used to have) the option to say he'll pick up the transferred tix at Will Call rather than print them out, which I guess is useful if you're receiving tix on your smartphone while driving to New Shea on the BQE. Finally, a little-noticed side effect: the transfer process makes hard tix a dicey proposition when dealing with strangers if you're on the buying end, because there's no way to know if the bar code's been invalidated by a Ticket Transfer. As a result, when I'm occasionally on the buying end, I'll usually only accept a PDF or printout of it.

Scott
Scott

Amazing that the Mets can't even work out as good a deal with a ticketing vendor like all the other local teams can. Me thinks Mike doesn't have the whole story if 7 out of 8 local franchises can do this, but the Mets can't.

MetsMike
MetsMike

Being someone who has spent a good amount of years working in and around professional sports box office operations, and in defense of the Mets, the fee to transfer tickets are to offset the charge they receive from their ticketing provider. Providing professional sports ticketing (not ticket sales, but actually providing the ticketing service online) is a multi-million dollar business. I don't know the particulars of the Mets situation, but I can assure you they are being charged either exactly or close to the $4 fee. That and the combination of controlling the second market for tickets with the fee, this doesn't seem to be the battle we should be fighting.

OswegoMatt
OswegoMatt

Speaking of fees I bought a $50 Citi Field gift card as a gift last year. I couldn't believe that I was charged a service fee for that too ($3.50 I believe). How much does it really cost to have someone swipe the card and put it in the mail? I just get a stamp at the post office about 40 minutes ago and it was only 44 cents. Fees are dumb, so dumb.

Av
Av

Nick, A situation that often arises is that I am going with a friend but I am the one that is arriving late, so I can't leave the tickets at will call. I either have to pay the transfer fee or my friend has to wait outside for me to get there. Alternatively, sometimes I am not going at all and decide to give the ticket to friends as a gift. If they are unable to come pick up the physical tickets, I am left with 2 choices: 1) pay the $4 fee myself to transfer tickets that I am already giving away and taking a hit on; 2) tell the person that I am giving a "gift" to that they have to pay $4 to receive the "gift" (pretty tacky if you ask me.) I currently have Jets and Knicks season tickets. I use their transfer service all the time and it is free to print out or forward tickets. I used to have Rangers tickets and it was the same deal. There is no reason why the Mets can't also provide this service for free.

Nick
Nick

I'm trying to figure out why the original emailer didn't simply leave his extra ticket at will-call for his friend. Unless this changed from last season at Citi Field, you can leave a ticket at will-call for games THAT DAY. To do so, go into Citi Field through the rotunda, walk behind the giant 42 and off to the left - you'll see two little windows where you can leave your tickets. You fill out the envelop and they bring it over to the will-call window that's located outside to the left of the rotunda for your friend to pick up. I did this several times last season and it didn't cost me a dime. Please note, you can only do this for games that day. I tried to leave tickets for a future game for friends and they told me no. Using the above scenario, there IS a free option to transfer tickets. Using the response above, I doubt that the Mets hired a full-time IT professional simply to maintain a ticket-email system. A $4 fee is rather high for such a service. I can see it as a fee for replacing LOST tickets - but the idea of transferring the ticket electronically is listed as a benefit of being a subscribe. Charging for that 'privilege' is a little lame, considering that the fan receiving the ticket will be at the game, filling a seat (or seats), buying concessions, etc, instead of having that seat(s) go empty.

The Coop
The Coop

Ceetar is right - it's $4 per transaction. But if I'm transferring one ticket and not several, the fee is a little annoying (I usually make my buyers eat the cost)

Ceetar
Ceetar

I assume the fee is a deterant to the secondary market. (I think it's $4 a transaction, not ticket, no? ) However I think a good compromise would be to be able to email a PDF copy of the ticket to the email address associated with your account. (Also, to your smartphone and use that to scan.) then you just distribute the tickets as you see fit. for instance, I email you the pdfs and tell you "use ticket #8 and i'll use #7" This is what i do when I buy tickets last minute on line anyway.

Shannon Shark
Shannon Shark

Mike great comment. Any idea on what the difference might be in that the Yankees can do it for $2?

Nick
Nick

I hear ya - of course if you're the later person arriving at the game, or if you're not going at all, then you have no choice but to pay whatever fee they ask. The original email never specified that they'd be the late party. I just saw that the post did not mention will-call as an option and wanted to make sure that those that don't frequent Citi knew it was available. To be sure, I am in the camp of "No Charge" for the convenience of transferring tickets. Again, I would think the Mets would make more money if that ticket is transferred for free and someone was sitting in that seat than if the ticket wasn't transferred and the seat went empty. Interesting idea that Ceetar had about photocopying/scanning the ticket and emailing that image - I would assume that in theory the bar-code would still be able to be scanned. I have never tried that - and we can't be sure that they ticket-takers would be on the look-out for that. Though most of the turn-styles have self-scanning with a taker monitoring two stations at once. Might be worth an inquiry ;) Also, coming out of the lockout for a few years I had season tickets for the NY Rangers with a buddy. They were in his name and he took care of the emailing, but he never once mentioned any fees associated with releasing/emailing tickets, so I can only assume there were none.

Ceetar
Ceetar

Btw, has anyone tried simply scanning or photographing and printing a ticket and using that?

Shannon Shark
Shannon Shark

Nick - because he isn't heading to Citi at all.

Ceetar
Ceetar

and for them it's cheaper than the..what is it $5+ ticket fee and $6 transaction fee? on mets.com So in a way it makes sense. You don't pay those fees as a season (plan) holder, but if you're going to resell, you don't get to keep the fee waiver. A way to avoid brokers buying plans to get around fees? (Although can't you just tell them to email you the) tickets when you place a new order with a plan?

MetsMike
MetsMike

Could be anything from the Yankees negotiating a better deal from their vendor (sheer ticket volume can lower the pricing) to the Yankees eating some of the costs to get people in the seats (probably more likely). Scott, I don't have the whole story and I never claimed to.

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