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The Cure’s Robert Smith actually got Ticketmaster to refund fans those extra fees

A man with heavy eyemakeup and red lipstick.
Ticketmaster is catching heat from fans of the Cure and frontman Robert Smith.
(Neilson Barnard / Getty Images)
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Scoring tickets to watch the Cure perform live should be just like heaven ... but Ticketmaster has made the process hell for fans. Now, the live-music promoter is offering partial refunds.

Robert Smith of the Cure tweeted to fans on Wednesday that he was “as sickened as you all are by today’s Ticketmaster ‘Fees’ debacle,” after fans voiced grievances and posted shots of their Ticketmaster transactions.

“To be very clear, the artist has no way to limit them,” Smith continued. “I have been asking how they are justified. If I get anything coherent by way of an answer, I will let you all know.”

On Thursday, the Cure frontman updated fans, and it appeared that his all-caps tirade against Ticketmaster worked.

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“After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high, and as a gesture of goodwill have offered a $10 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for lowest ticket price transactions,” Smith tweeted.

“And a $5 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for all other ticket price transactions, for all Cure shows at all venues,” he continued. “If you already bought a ticket you will get an automatic refund; all tickets on sale tomorrow will incur lower fees.”

The English post-punk, new wave band aimed to keep ticket costs affordable, with some as low as $20. But fans shared screenshots of Ticketmaster shopping baskets in which exorbitant added fees were tacked on for their U.S. tour.

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Pop artist Tim Burgess shared a shot of the added charges on Twitter.

“So @thecure and @RobertSmith wanted to keep ticket prices at a reasonable level for fans on their upcoming North American tour dates. Of course @Ticketmaster absolutely rinsed them with ridiculous extra charges,” Burgess tweeted. “wtf even is a service fee or a facility charge or processing fee??”

In the screenshot of his transaction, it showed he had added four tickets at $20 a pop to his cart. Then Ticketmaster added a service fee of $11.65 to each ticket, plus an added facility charge of $10 per ticket, and then an order processing fee of $5.50. In the end, his purchase of four tickets cost him $172.10, nearly $100 more than the tickets had been advertised for.

Times columnist Suzy Exposito was among the Cure fans tweeting while she tried to buy tickets: “lol no wonder the Swifties are suing Ticketmaster. Getting tickets for the Cure has been a clown show, error messages and blank windows galore,” she said before tweeting again 40 minutes later, “Alas, the Goth Gods have smiled upon me. After 10+ attempts, I have Cure tickets!”

But Exposito was another “verified fan” charged additional fees, amounting to more than $120 over asking price.

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“We want the tour to be affordable for all fans, and we have a very wide (and we think very fair) range of pricing at every show,” the Cure stated in a March 10 post on Twitter.

“Our ticketing partners have agreed to help us stop scalpers from getting in the way; to help minimise resale and keep prices at face value, tickets for this tour will not be transferable.”

The “Boys Don’t Cry” crooner has been posting frequent updates via Twitter over the last week and said the band did not agree to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing,” “price surging,” “platinum ticket” model, calling it “a bit of scam.”

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According to Smith, the band had final say in the ticket pricing for their upcoming Shows of a Lost World tour, which features a three-night stay at the Hollywood Bowl on May 23-25. They didn’t want ticket prices “instantly and horribly distorted by resale.”

He also wrote that the group was convinced that Ticketmaster’s “verified fan page” and “face value ticket exchange” system — in which fans register for a chance to be given a unique purchasing code prior to presale — would help fight the scalpers.

Smith said he would update fans if he got more information about the Ticketmaster fees. In the meantime, he was “compelled to note” the “recurring elephant in the room” that if no one “bought from scalpers . . . then . . . X”

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This is the latest in a prominent string of debacles with Tickmaster. Ire from artists and fans has been pointed toward the company for price gouging and software glitches that have caused fans hoping to see Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen to either miss out on tickets altogether or face prices reaching the thousands.

In December, 26 burned Swifties filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, alleging that its parent company (Live Nation Entertainment Inc.) engaged in fraud, price-fixing and antitrust-law violations as well as “intentionally and purposefully mislead[ing] ticket purchasers by allowing scalpers and bots access to TaylorSwiftTix presale.”

“The public brought all this on itself,” Fred Rosen, the 79-year-old former chief executive of Ticketmaster, told The Times’ August Brown in January.

“I have no sympathy for people whining about high ticket prices,” he continued, blaming fans who downloaded music without paying for it during the music file-sharing era of Napster. “They helped create this situation where artists have to make all their money on tour. Artists and the market set the prices, and you can’t pay a Motel 6 price and stay at the Four Seasons.”

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