Consumer Alert: Fie Upon Song Ticketing

(Updated 22 Dec 11 — see footnote*)

Consumer Alert — for whatever good it will do, which may not be much.

About three weeks ago I decided to order tickets for a Christmas concert by Chanticleer — a 12-member, all male, a capella, choral group — at Walt Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles. I went* to the LA Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall website, found the concert date, reviewed available ticket prices, and selected two $75 tickets, in a section on one side of the stage (the hall has seating on all sides, including behind the stage). I clicked purchase, was advised that the total with taxes etc. would be $191, and clicked accept.

A few days later I got an email from Song Ticketing [] advising me that their databases had not been updated, and the section where I’d ordered tickets was sold out. They could provide alternate seating for the same price in another section. OK… I replied that I would accept the alternative.

I received, by Federal Express, two paper tickets. (You’d think they could have sent electronic documents that I could have printed out, but no, I had to sign a FedEx note to have the two pieces of paper delivered to a neighbor, since I’m not at home during the workday.)

It turned out the tickets they supplied were two $30 tickets in a section behind the stage.

I confirmed, when we attended the concert on the 15th, that the tickets were worth $30 each.

We were behind the stage — in only the 3rd row back, but looking at the backs the performers, for most of the concert. (It was nice that a few of the singers thought to turn around and look behind them, to acknowledge the applause from back there.)

After which, I replied to ‘Song Ticketing’ that I thought some refund was due.

They replied that they are a broker, of some sort, and have the right to sell any ticket at any price, above or below the nominal price, depending on consumer demand, and this is explained in the fine print on their website.

Now, I had ordered the tickets from the LA Philharmonic website, which does indicate an affiliation with Ticketmaster. And in fact, the paper tickets I received by FedEx said ‘Ticketmaster’ at the top. But no connection with ‘Song Ticketing’ was suggested. I never had reason to go to the Song Ticketing website, much less examine their fine print.

I did quick Google search and discovered Song Ticketing @ Pissed Consumer, which has many stories similar to mine.

Point of fact, the hall was not full. If it was sold out, there must have been 20% no-shows, in the orchestra section in front of the stage, and on the sides, where I’d tried to order tickets. Song Ticketing’s response might have been plausible had those sections actually been full.

So it strikes me as unethical, if not fraud, for Song Ticketing to supply cheap tickets in response to an order for expensive tickets, and claim this is OK because of fine print on some website I never had any reason to visit. I doubt any Song Ticketing employee would be happy if, say, they arranged a car loan for an expensive car and got delivered a cheaper car, with an email pointing out some excuse in the fine print on some website.

I replied to Song Ticketing and told them so, and Happy Holidays for your dicey ethics.

No reply.

Bottom line: I was charged $191, and got two $30 tickets.

Not sure how I could prevent this in the future. I sent a complaint to the LA Philharmonic website, and they responded that they had no affiliation with Song Ticketing.

I suppose I will never order tickets this way again. I suppose if I did try to order individual tickets like this again, I would be very aware – beware – of any contact with Song Ticketing, and try to divert their interference with a response to the original order.

However I did like the concert, and am pleased to recommend Chanticleer for any of your holiday, or male vocal, music needs. (I especially admired Matthew Knickman.) Amazon has complete collection.

* Upon investigation, trying to reproduce the Google search I used when I bought tickets in the first place (I’d set the browser to keep only 7 days of history), it seems I did *not* land on the actual LA Phil website. The Google search results showed “” at the very top — but it’s a paid ad, which I hadn’t noticed, and I must have used that to order tickets. It’s “powered by”, who sent me an email receipt when I did the initial purchase. Oddly, that result appeared at the top of my search results on one PC, but at the bottom on another, though I don’t recall ever editing Google search options in any fashion on either PC.

Anyway, LA Phil is not implicated.

***Further update 22 Dec 11 evening*** — I noticed this evening that the tickets I received — delivered, inconveniently, as two pieces of paper, by FedEx (I had to sign to have them delivered to a neighbor, since I’m at work during the FedEx delivery day) — do in fact say “ticketmaster” across the top. This confirmed my earlier conviction that I’d ordered through LA Phil/Ticketmaster. Reconsidering, it seems that I must have ordered through, which was a front for, which in turn must have ordered tickets — two $30 tickets — through Ticketmaster, and passed them off to me in exchange for my $191 credit card charge. The tickets even say “purchased by AILEEN CAMPBELL”. Who would she be, I wonder? I will follow up with them tomorrow…

9 Responses to Consumer Alert: Fie Upon Song Ticketing

  1. Pingback: Locus Online Blinks » Blinks: Fie Upon Song Ticketing

  2. Dear Mark,

    Thanks for the heads-up on yet another lousy online ticket experience. Anything that makes Ticketmaster look good is truly bad.

    But: Chanticleer is wonderful. Their “Our Heart’s Joy: A Chanticleer Christmas” is marvelous. Their version of Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” is treasurable.

    –Al Sarrantonio

  3. Mark,

    If you couldn’t get any satisfaction from Song Ticketing, I would call the credit card company you used and dispute the charge. I’ve had to use this tactic a couple of times over the years when I’ve received products(in this case a concert) I wasn’t satisfied with. Tell Song Ticketing to adjust the price or you will ask for a complete refund from your credit card company.

    Cheers, Tim

  4. Pingback: Consumer Alert: Fie Upon Song Ticketing | Happy Travel Spot

  5. Russell Letson

    On-line purchase means credit card payment. Have you considered disputing the charge via your card company? And I’d be very curious about the precise relationships among and between the LAP, Ticketmaster, and Song Ticketing–Ticketmaster generally has a stranglehold on ticket sales, but bitching at the LAP folks about being bait-and-switched by a covert arm of Ticketmaster (if that’s what ST is) might move them to adjust *their* relationship with this putative service.

  6. Hello Mark – intriguing story. From an objective UK viewpoint, brokering may be perfectly legal, BUT, if your contract for tickets was with the LA Philharmonic and/or Ticketmaster, and if Song Ticketing then claimed to be working on your ticket contract, wasn’t this simple fraud? Especially if LA Philharmonic claim no affiliation with ST? I don’t know USA law, obviously, but shouldn’t some of the many victims be investigating the ST misrepresentation, their duff “sold-out” data, and the ST sources of victim’s contact details? Good on you for spreading the warning. Best wishes, David

  7. Are you 100% sure that when you bought your tickets you were at See for a local article here in NC about the problem of companies setting up scam sites and using ads on google to lure you to a site that looks like the real thing but isn’t. Sounds like “Song Ticketing” is pulling the same scam somehow with the LA Phil.

    And of course you should dispute the charge with your credit card company.

  8. Google definitely needs to do a better job screening out these scammy ads. Ever since that N&O article in July, I’ve gotten a bit paranoid about double-checking what site I’m on when I order tickets online.

    I notice that the policy on is: “Occasionally tickets ordered may no longer be available at the price or in the quantity originally ordered at the time the order is received. If equivalent or better seat locations are available at the same price, the TICKET SELLER will fill the order with the alternative seat locations. If no alternates are available, either the USER’S credit card will not be charged at all or the entire amount will be refunded, and USER will be notified that the ticket request has been rejected.” Sounds like Song Ticketing violated’s policies, so maybe you can get somewhere by contacting secureboxoffice? At least they’ve got a phone number and not just an email address.

  9. Mark — Perhaps we can pursue the more trivial part of the mystery — I know somebody by the name that was on your ticket. Send me an e-mail if you want me to ask her.