Fandango discriminates against imaginary Germans

By | November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014

Regal Entertainment Group
7132 Regal Lane
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918
Fax: 1-865-922-3188

To whom it may concern:

I’m writing to you to complain about Fandango, the vendor you’ve selected to exclusively handle on-line sales of Regal tickets. I have been forced to escalate my complaint to you because of Fandango’s completely inept handling of it.

Yesterday, I tried unsuccessfully, several times, to purchase tickets through Fandango for a November 28 movie showing at the Regal Fenway Stadium 13 & RPX theatre. I re-entered my credit card information several times; I tried from two different browsers; I tried both as a guest user and as a registered Fandango user; I tried in an “incognito” window to ensure that there weren’t any stale cookies. None of these efforts were successful. Every time I attempted to complete the purchase, I got an error page informing me that some unspecified “internal error” had occurred.

I contacted Fandango for help via live chat. The live chat agent was unable to determine the cause of the problem, and he told me he would escalate my issue to the next level of support and I would hear something back by email.

Indeed, several hours later I received the following message via email (incident number [elided] in Fandango’s email customer support system):

Thank you for your previous contact and for taking the time to bring this issue to our attention.

Unfortunately, we found that your purchase attempts failed because we do not allow purchases from Germany at this time.

Thank you for your patience and for making Fandango your choice for online movie ticketing.

Here is what I wrote back:

What are you talking about?

I live in Massachusetts, and I was making the purchase from a computer in Boston, Massachusetts, through a Boston, Massachusetts internet connection (no VPN, no proxy, no Tor, no nothing, just a straight internet connection).

If your web site thought I was trying to purchase something from Germany, then your web site is extremely confused.

Sheesh. Seriously? I think it’s time for me to contact Regal’s corporate headquarters and tell them what I think about them giving a monopoly on their online ticket sales to a company that’s as incompetent as you people seem to be.

And by the way, if the reason why my purchase failed was because your web site thought I was making a purchase from Germany, don’t you think it should have said that, rather than reporting a completely meaningless “internal error”?

I sent this to them 21 hours ago. They have not responded.

In the end, to purchase these tickets, I had to go out of my way to visit the theatre in person and use one of the kiosks there (incidentally, a completely separate complaint: the theatre has two kiosks, but only one of them would actually allow me to purchase tickets for a showing on a different day).

I suppose I should be thankful that I didn’t end up paying Fandango’s exorbitant “convenience fee” to be able to buy the tickets online, but the thing is, I wanted to pay that fee, because it would indeed have been extremely convenient not to have to go out of my way to visit the theatre to buy tickets in person.

You have chosen to give Fandango the exclusive right to sell Regal tickets on-line. It is incumbent upon you to ensure that they are doing a good job of it. I’m telling you they’re not. I’d like to know what you’re going to do about it.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

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