James O'Neill's Blog

July 21, 2008

How to annoy customers… e-commerce

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 10:32 am

In a few minutes I will be heading off to a Microsoft event in Seattle, and on the way I will be taking in some diving just the other side of the Canadian border. I already know that the hotel chain I’m staying with in Canada has complimentary Internet access, and the one booked for me in Seattle charges 4 times as much for the room and then wants to charge for Internet Access on top. Is it really asking too much for major business hotels to include Internet Access in the room rate ?

One of my American colleagues  introduced me to a term for this practice "Nickel and diming" , which doesn’t really translate to British coinage. But over the week end I came across a worse example. I’ve decided to take my family to the Red Bull Air Race in London. And went to their web site to order tickets.

. Click for full size view

Now, when I take my daughter to watch the British Touring cars as an under 16 she gets in free. As sports with engines go this is a pretty good deal. Red Bull want 80% of the ticket price for the over 6’s. Grrrr. When I book concert tickets I expect an agent to take a cut and increasingly they add a handling fee, postage etc. I don’t expect that from the venue. I can’t help feel that the principle what you see is What you pay should apply, but I’ve grown used to this.

What annoys me with Red Bull is that not only do they charge me a £3.50 processing fee , but they charge me an extra £1.20 to print my tickets myself, and then on top of those charges they charge an extra 3.5% for me to pay by credit card (which I think is outlawed by both Visa and Mastercard).  When the only way to buy the tickets is with a credit card it seems a bit much to charge for it.

Making the cost up to £77 this way makes me feel like I’ve been cheated. But with WYSIWYP charges of £30 for adult tickets and children at £20, I doubt that I would have grumbled at paying £80.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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