We recognise that no-one likes having to pay handling charges or booking fees on top of a ‘basic’ ticket price but we hope the following will help to explain our policy at The Stables and provide an understanding of the context within which we operate.
The Stables is a charitable organisation and as such pricing and charges are set carefully to reflect overheads and not to generate profits. Given the significant costs involved in running a venue, the mix of income generation including income from ticket sales, secondary spend and fundraising are all vitally important. These ensure that The Stables can continue to present the range and quality of music and education workshops that it currently programmes.
Our handling charges ensure that we are able to recover some of the costs of providing an in-house, professional box office service. These costs include our staff, box office system licence fees, third party IT support charges, pre-printed ticket stock, thermal printers, PCs, phone system charges, banking charges, cash collection charges and postage where it applies. (We apply an additional per ticket fee for internet bookings specifically to cover the costs passed on to us by our third party online ticketing provider.)
We’re frequently asked why we don’t just increase our ticket prices to recoup the costs outlined above. Because of the complex contractual and financial arrangements entered into with artists, management, agents and promoters, which mean varying percentages of box office take being split between ourselves and these other parties, it’s just not possible – hence why we keep handling charges separate from the ‘published’ ticket price.
At the beginning of April 2013 new legislation came into force with the primary aim of protecting consumers being charged disproportionate and non-transparent credit/debit card fees when booking online. Following this change in legislation we have standardised our handling charges policy across all payment channels – in person, by phone and online - to avoid any contravention of the new legislation.