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Robert Smith of The Cure convinces Ticketmaster to give partial refunds, lower fees

Robert Smith of The Cure performs in Glastonbury, England, in 2019. This week, he shared his frustrations with Ticketmaster, and announced Thursday that the company would lower fees and offer partial refunds to The Cure's ticket purchasers.
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Robert Smith of The Cure performs in Glastonbury, England, in 2019. This week, he shared his frustrations with Ticketmaster, and announced Thursday that the company would lower fees and offer partial refunds to The Cure's ticket purchasers.

One cure — or a treatment, at least — for high Ticketmaster fees turns out to be The Cure frontman Robert Smith, who said he was "sickened" by the charges and announced Thursday that Ticketmaster will offer partial refunds and lower fees for The Cure tickets moving forward.

"After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high," Smith tweeted. Smith said the company agreed to offer a $5-10 refund per ticket for verified fan accounts "as a gesture of goodwill."

Cure fans who already bought tickets for shows on the band's May-July tour will get their refunds automatically, Smith said, and all future ticket purchases will incur lower fees.

The announcement came a day after Smith shared his frustration on Twitter, saying he was "as sickened as you all are by today's Ticketmaster 'fees' debacle. To be very clear: the artist has no way to limit them."

In some cases, fans say the fees more than doubled their ticket price, with one social media user sharing that they paid over $90 in fees for $80 worth of tickets.

Ticketmaster has been in a harsh spotlight in recent months. Last November, Taylor Swift fans waited hours, paid high fees and weathered outages on the Ticketmaster website to try to score tickets to her Eras Tour. A day before the tickets were set to open to the general public, the company canceled the sale due to "extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand."

In a statement on Instagram, Swift said it was "excruciating for me to watch mistakes happen with no recourse."

In January, following that debacle, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing looking at Live Nation — the company that owns Ticketmaster — and the lack of competition in the ticketing industry. Meanwhile, attorneys general across many states initiated consumer protection investigations, Swift's fans sued the company for fraud and antitrust violations and some lawmakers called for Ticketmaster to be broken up.

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: March 18, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly said one social media user shared that they paid over $90 in fees for a $80 ticket. In fact, they paid over $90 in fees for $80 worth of tickets.
Kaitlyn Radde