BLACKLISTED: Virgin Online Ticketing

So, after my tour in the US a couple of months ago, I got used to the idea of buying everything online beforehand. Concert tickets, hotel reservations, plane fares, bus rides, etc. It’s an awesome way to buy things, especially since you get a discount or an offer, seeing how you’re doing the printing and not them.

Naturally, I assumed the same thing happened with the Virgin Ticketing Box Office website. Boy was I wrong, it was a nightmarish procedure which I will never ever do again and neither should you, and here’s why:

No Tickets Online

Usually, when you buy a ticket online, the “ticket” appears after you pay with your credit card and you print it. You get the print out, show up at whatever you’re going to and get in. That saves you waiting in line, or having to go early to wherever the venue is and buying the physical ticket. That’s what I did when I bought tickets to a Broadway show, my bus fares, my train ride and my airplane tickets!

On Virgin’s website, you just get told to go pick it up from a branch. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Why the hell would I buy them online if I’m gonna have to pick them up physically from their store?!

+3.5% Extra!?

They make you pay EXTRA for buying online! It should be cheaper! You’re saving them the actual ticket and printing, as well as the employee’s time who would’ve otherwise issued your ticket… Why the fuck would they make you pay the extra money?! ESPECIALLY when they don’t actually give me the ticket online, in which case I’d forget about the 3.5% extra charge…

90’s Style Website

It’s slow, ugly, clunky, glitchy and often labeled wrong. The seating arrangements are often redundant or of another venue or concert. I was scared to enter my credit card details in such a poorly designed website, but I was desperate and needed tickets ASAP to give as a present

The Excuses

When I found out you don’t actually get the tickets, I flipped out! I went down to a Virgin Megastore branch and demanded a full refund, including the +3.5%. I told them it’s a disgrace, and why the hell would they offer such an anti-service. The reason? “For those who live abroad” Seriously? -_-

First of all, you should warn us the tickets aren’t actually issued online. There is no such warning or disclaimer. Second, what kinda fucked up logic is that? You make me pay more to secure my spot and then ask me to do the same procedure I would’ve done without the website? What’s that, watching customers fight over scraps and letting the ones with the credit card and ability to pay extra win? Very consumer-friendly, bravo.

And why don’t you clarify that that shitty service is intended for people abroad? I wouldn’t have wasted my time and money on it! Also, I’m certain not a large enough part of the audience is from abroad, so I’m not buying that excuse, it’s just a scam to milk more money out of you for no real service. Oh, and it’s nonrefundable…

Just Issue Them Online

Would it be so hard? To create a page with a barcode that would be your actual ticket? Which would make shopping online advantageous to physically going there?

Until they fix all those things, Virgin gets 5 fingers for being stupid, malevolent, rude and useless with their online ticketing services.

Screenshots of the ugly website:

Comments

  1. Hady says

    You are completely right but I think the website is more than enough for a country that is not used to internet shopping. Virgin obviously did this for people who live abroad so they can reserve their spot in the venue before tickets sell out. And I find this very logical. But I’m against the +3.5% extra, and I think they should change “buy tickets” to “reserve tickets”.

    • Roger says

      Even for those living abroad, they could still print their tickets at their locations, no need to pick them up in person at the store. People living abroad do have printers :) However, I think it is a desperate ploy to force people to walk into a store to pick up their tickets and perhaps do some extra shopping while they are there

      • Pipo says

        You don’t even need to print it… Your smart phone (if you have one, and don’t live in the ice age) can do the job…
        The Comment isn’t targeted at you Roger personally Roger =P
        Enjoy

  2. Mazen Abdallh says

    Dear Fellow Commentors/Gino,
    I apologize if I come off as excessively ranty here.

    How fucking hard is it to design a goddamned website? My quadriplegic grandmother’s braindead dog can take a php course and put something together for you inside of two days. Your website isn’t just fucking ugly – it doesn’t work. Let me ask you something. When Richard Branson gives you the license and you give him another small pile of cash, doesn’t he ask if you’re going to represent yourself in a professional goddamn way? No? Cause this is awful, the site is a fucking wreck. I struggled with the thing all of last day (mind you I was just checking to see if the tickets were there, I’ve never gotten the bright idea to fuck with these imbeciles). Is it the money? You can’t afford a better site? Is being Lebanon’s most overpriced goddamn tech store not turning a profit these days? This shit is not complicated you fucking animals. Design a goddamn website that works, sell people tickets on this fucking website. It’s 20-goddamn-12. For fuck’s sake, the apocalypse might happen and you dumb cunts haven’t mastered online commerce. You’re a tech store for twat’s sake, how do you not have the internet figured out? What do you think you sell, shiny color boxes? Are you all tech-illiterate cavemen who paradoxically own a store that deals in the shiny world of tomorrow? We’re not asking you to fix the government, economy, national security or debt crisis. Just give us this one little thing; a website that actually works. Y’know, since you MONOPOLIZED the ticket trade. Who was your competitor, a homeless man who sells the tickets out of a piss-drenched wheelbarrow?

    Please…just get an actual website. No flash or fancy menus…just a website.

  3. L.A says

    I totally agree … and the thing is that even when you buy tickets from Virgin itself .. employees are rude and lazy. What annoys me even more is that Virgin is the only place where you can get tickets for important concerts. I had a problem with them once in the Pink Floyd Tribute..my dad and brother came from abroad so I got them two pricey tickets so that they enjoy the show…what they did is that in very very fine print they wrote (reserve before even for seats) … and when I got the tickets none of the emplyees told me so…typical Lebanese bullshit…I had to beg them at the door telling them my dad is an elderly person and he cannot stand up and I got them Lounge tickets until they finally gave us crappy seats at the back of the lounge…I wrote a note to virgin but noone gave a damn. idiots!!!

  4. tres says

    Not to defend their practices, but if you use Ticket Master in the states basically “Virgin” equivalent you also pay a “service charge.” It always cheaper to get the tickets at the actual venue if possible.

  5. says

    there are a couple fucked up things you forgot to mention
    1- When tickets go on sale for a concert at a set date and time, I recall the case of Fairuz and Julia Boutros’ concerts, they are not available online until the next day, and well most of the ticket categories are sold out during the first day, so people abroad or people that don’t have the chance to queue up in the most unorganized queue will probably have to miss the concert or buy the $$$ tickets
    2- You can’t even view which seats are tickets in order to select the seats you want, you can just select your ticket category and the number of tickets you want, I’m not sure on which basis the seats are selected for you but I don’t think its on the basis of the closest or nearest to the middle.

  6. says

    I agree. I have been checking their website a couple of days ago. I wanted to check the last performance of a play and if there is still available seats. The option is not available or not easy. I had to input the number of tickets + the price and they randomly picked the sets for me, then I had to zoom in at the seats layout and try to guess where those seats are.

    It’s true we are not (as Lebanese) ready and used to online shopping, but i think it’s time to push it forward and let us decide.

  7. Mako says

    1- You can always get your online ticket at the concert, Virgin ticketing staff are there during the concert, you don’t need to go to the branches.
    2- They take extra, because other people are waiting in turn and spending money to go to the branch in order to buy the ticket, and you are at home relaxed and buying your ticket. So all the printing and not making the employee work argument you had doesn’t work anymore, because the employee will print it for you. This is their rule, and like you respect rules “aboard”, respect them here!
    3- Online ticketing is not very popular in Lebanon, that’s why probably they didn’t design that website, but with the new marketing management, they are doing some changes.
    4- If one of the staff wasn’t assisting you in a proper way, you can always talk to the manager instead of writing a blog, that doesn’t mean all the staff are bad.
    5- You can’t choose your own tickets online, for technical reasons, you can always call them and ask them why and they will explain to you.
    6- Stop this bullshit about Lebanon and the Lebanese way, you travel for some countries and you start bullshitting about Lebanon, this is the stupidest thing I see. People go backward when they travel!
    7- I agree that all Virgin Website has to change.

    I used to be one of the ticketing staff, and you have no idea how much we used to work, WITH PASSION. So if you meet one employer who didn’t assist you well, don’t generalize and please don’t say it is because we are Lebanese!!

    • says

      You know, I was thinking of replying to you point by point, but then I remembered you should stop making excuses… We are the customers, who are paying for something, and we are being duped. I couldn’t give less of a damn about the bogus excuses, and until that is fixed, I refuse to use and will encourage friends not to, which is exactly what I’m doing now.

      Service is bad and a rip off and I never said anything about the staff, so don’t cry me a river, we all have friends who work there and know it’s not their fault the service is horrible.

      Also, what the hell is that disgusting mentality that we don’t talk about the problems in our country because “3eb”. Yalla, let’s vote for Jeita and embarrass ourselves cause “3eb” kamen…

  8. Sam says

    -I would happily live with the website design if it offered an excellent service. Unfortunately, It does not make any sense to charge people more when they buy their tickets online. I do not agree with point 2 in Mako’s comment: I’m supposed to feel bad/pay more because of other people taking the trip to the branch and me choosing to buy online?. Second of all, point 3: what the hell is technical reasons? Whomever developed your website has the obligation/tools to customize it to your needs.

    -I still can’t get over the fact that you do not print your tickets online. The main advantage of buying tickets online is to be able to head to the event and gain direct access (anything less is idiotic).

    -I have already had 2 online ticketing experiences, one bad and (believe it or not), one excellent: the bad one is Grand Cinemas (never tried it after finding out the conditions): you buy your tickets (you can choose your seats), for which you are charged 1,000 Lebanese Pounds extra for each ticket. What you get is a paper/document that has some number on it, then you head over to the box office with said number and have your tickets issued. Strangely, this service is marketed using the line “Jump the Queue”.

    -The good experience (which, you’re not gonna believe it, is no longer available) was courtesy of Cinemacity – Citymall. A friend of mine used their online services some time ago: you buy the tickets + you select the seats + you print the final tickets. We got there, had direct access to the theater and… well, that’s it. Needless to say, I would definitely use such a service all the time if it were available.

    -As for these kinds of services not being very popular in Lebanon, they will not become so unless a joint effort is done by all parties concerned.

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