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POP MUSIC

There's No Charge for No Service

August 11, 1996|STEVE HOCHMAN

Ticketmaster swears it's never happened before, but last Sunday about 40 people trying to get tickets for the Sept. 11 Neil Young/Patti Smith concert at the Forum were left angry and seatless when the firm's Hollywood Boulevard outlet didn't open. What made them even angrier was that most of them had gone to the location because it was advertised as the only outlet selling the tickets without the usual service charge.

One disgruntled customer, Timothy Hayes, wrote The Times a detailed account of the morning, signing it "with sympathy to Pearl Jam and all other Ticketmaster haters worldwide." Hayes says that several people in line used cellular phones and a nearby pay phone to call Ticketmaster and were told that the outlet would open soon. It didn't, and by the time it was clear to the people that they'd better go to another outlet, only the worst seats remained.

A Ticketmaster spokesman says that the outlet didn't open simply because the employee in charge forgot it was his day to work. The guilty party was not fired but was disciplined in an "appropriate" manner, the spokesman says. Ticketmaster arranged the purchase of "decent seats"--without the service charge--for those who complained to the company.

Hayes got seats in the rear of the floor section--not the best in the house but comparable to what he could have expected if the outlet had opened. "At least they're at sea level and I won't need oxygen like I would have with the ones that were left on Sunday," he says.

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