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StubHub Sings the Blues After Shifting Fees

Thursday, May 01, 2014   (0 Comments)
Wall Street Journal (03/26/14) Karp, Hannah

StubHub's transition to all-in ticket pricing, in which previously hidden fees are openly disclosed, has backfired on the ticketing company, which had hoped for mass consumer acceptance. With such tacked-on fees now included in listed prices, they appear more costly, and sales have declined as fans defect to sites that list lower base prices and conceal fees, StubHub reports. Some ticket brokers say their StubHub sales have slipped by 15 to 50 percent since all-in pricing was implemented. The company has begun to slash the fees it charges buyers and sellers to win back customers, which is biting into its profitability. Brokers say in recent weeks StubHub has reduced buyers' fees to as low as 2 percent from 10 percent of the base ticket price, altering the fees daily for different events. It also has cut the fees it charges sellers, which usually range from 6 to 15 percent. Dreamtix's Curtis Cheng says StubHub's sales volume has rebounded since it reduced its fees. StubHub's Glenn Lehrman says the company is launching a promotional campaign to push its new price transparency, but he acknowledges "people have been so conditioned to believe there is a surprise at check out—they still believe that there's going to be."

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