Celia Rivenbark

Ticketmaster’s weak ticket-redeeming lineup | From the Belle Tower

When I read an email last month informing me I was entitled to eight free concert tickets as part of a class-action lawsuit filed against Ticketmaster, I was as giddy as a 14-year-old girl at a Taylor Swift meet-and-greet. I read this alone at my computer and had no one to high-five or fist bump but it was a joyous moment nonetheless.

The settlement was the result of Ticketmaster charging excessive order-processing fees between 1999 and 2013. I’ve always whined about how you buy a $65 concert ticket and, by the time fees and taxes and venue surcharges are tacked on, the final cost is “oh, let’s just say somewhere between mortgage payment and wisdom tooth extraction.”

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought Ticketmaster’s many fees were ridiculously inflated. The only difference was that these other brave souls took action and brought the matter to court while I just shrugged, muttered obscenities under my breath and kept giving them my credit card number.

So thanks to the nameless, faceless souls who fought so long and hard for those of us who just whined and drowned our sorrows in consolation ice cream.

The email told me where to look up the list of eligible concerts. I thought this was odd since all concerts should be eligible but, as many of you have already discovered, that’s not exactly how it works.

First up: I decided to surprise Duh Hubby for his birthday with tickets to see his beloved Dixie Chicks at a venue a couple of hours away. Sadly, the show wasn’t on the list of approved concerts.

Re-reading the email more carefully, I noticed it specified vouchers were “Redeemable for CERTAIN concert events…”

So I went to the dedicated website, Ticketmasterscrewsyoualloveragain.com and realized that my eight tickets may only be redeemed for events such as Somebody’s Aunt Hazel’s Bassoon Recital in Her Living Room.

Can’t hardly wait.

I hate to appear ungrateful but it seems to me that since the original gouging over a period of 14 years was for concerts featuring bands and Broadway shows everyone has heard of, shouldn’t the free tickets reflect the quality of the original purchase? I mean, sorry Best Damn Yanni Imitator in the Tri-State Area but this isn’t exactly comparing apples to apples. This is more like comparing apples to that weird cactus ear in the specialty produce section that no one really knows what to do with.

Re-reading the fine print, I see tickets must be redeemed by May 2017. Great. I now have to spend the next nine months finding the least noxious of the offerings within two hours of my home. Because, make no mistake, I will redeem these eight ticket vouchers. To waste them and the “bonus” four cash vouchers of $2.25 each to put toward a future online ticket, would be letting Ticketmaster have the last laugh.

Oh, wait. They already have. Fire up the bassoon Hazel. We’re on our way.

Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.