Ban 62p-a-min rip-off on disabled gig tickets INVESTIGATES
DISABLED music fans have been ripped off by nearly 40 ticket agencies and concert venues forcing them to make premium rate calls to get into gigs.
The revelation comes after we told last week how Peter Kay fans racked up huge bills when they were kept on hold on 084 and 087 numbers to book wheelchair access places.
Disability rights campaigners and telecom experts have called for the lines to be banned after research by the Fair Telecoms Campaign revealed the scale of the scandal. It found 38 venues, ticket agencies and promoters have separate numbers for the disabled, charging up to 62p a minute from a mobile.
One Kay fan was left with a phone bill of £39 to get an access ticket for Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena. Among other culprits using costly accessible bookings lines are the Birmingham Hippodrome, Echo Arena in Liverpool, Leeds First Direct Arena and the Ticketsellers agency. In many cases, disabled concertgoers are excluded from booking online but must ring these numbers that have a “service” charge of up to 7p a minute and an “access” fee of up to 55p a minute depending on providers.
Fair Telecoms Campaign spokesman David Hickson said customers have to use the lines to discuss accessibility needs. He said: “The numbers are exploitative and discrimination.” Ex-paralympic swimming champion Lord Chris Holmes said the charges were “unacceptable”. Nic Bungay, of Muscular Dystrophy UK, added: “We want a level playing field where people do not have to call separate numbers.”
SMG Europe, which runs Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle and Leeds First Direct Arena, says it may change the ticketing system and is “looking to secure alternative numbers which would reduce costs incurred.”
Birmingham Hippodrome, the Echo Arena in Liverpool and The Ticketseller did not respond to requests for comments.
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