The Great Silverstone Formula 1 Ticket Scam; otherwise known as Dynamic Pricing!!!
We follow F1 on TV but last year we thought we should go to Silverstone at least once to soak up the atmosphere of the live event. So last September we bought tickets for 2022. The process: received an email to say they were on sale, logged on, selected our chosen stand, digital hand-over of wads of cash, job done. The tickets are expensive. Was it worth it? On the whole yes. We enjoyed ourselves and decided we would do it again.
We are not seriously avid fans, we don’t read motorsport magazines or follow the sport on websites etc. So we had no idea that Dynamic Pricing!!! was lurking, waiting to pounce on the unwary like a ferocious money-hungry beast.
Tickets went on general sale Thursday Sept 15 in the afternoon and the site immediately crashed. The sale recommenced at 11.30 the next morning. There was no particular reason I felt compelled to buy my tickets at 11.30 but thought I might as well get it done and get on with the rest of the day.
We had already decided we wanted to be seated in the Luffield Grandstand this time – tickets had been advertised at £419 for the weekend. Logging on I noticed the ticket price was £429. I assumed I had made a mistake. Having clicked the buy now button for Luffield Tickets £429 I was put into a queue. No queuing last year. And the red queue line did not move, and time passed and it did not move. I got on with stuff and kept an eye on the static red bar on my phone. Something wrong with my connection obviously, I kept the phone on and logged on to the ticket site with my tablet. Luffield tickets now £449!! I was shocked – what’s going on? I’m not falling for that game.
I stayed logged in on my phone and at 4.50pm – 5 hours and 20 minutes later my turn came. The tickets were now priced at £459!!. I did not buy them. I have no intention of financially supporting such a self-serving, cynical, exploitative attempt to grab as much money as possible from ordinary folk.
Searching the internet later in the evening I saw that my chosen tickets had risen to £489. There were many comments across the web about this process, its unfairness, its exploitation of fans’ eagerness to go to the event. And such eagerness has driven many to complain but they nevertheless paid the inflated price. I read one comment where the price had risen whist the person in question was in the process of putting in his payment details. I would question whether or not a price rise at that point is in fact legal.
Some 48 hours later those same tickets are now £539 – that is £120 more than the original asking price and most tickets for other stands and general admission areas have sold out.
I am now aware of Dynamic Pricing!!! with the people at Silverstone not in the least apologetic or embarrassed about pricing according to demand. Dynamic pricing means that a buyer is not being asked to pay a price that reflects the true cost of an item rather the seller is attempting to get as much as they can regardless of the actual worth of the item, with the price increasing the more people want it. It is in effect an auction without being subject to the rules under which auctions operate. But if it is pricing according to demand then fans in reality should just hold fast and not buy. People should be bold and be prepared, if necessary, to not attend at all. If Silverstone don’t sell their tickets they’re stuffed. If the stands on race day are empty they certainly wouldn’t try that trick again.
I’m just sad and amazed that people have allowed themselves to be scammed in this way. Because it is a scam and it works in exactly the same way as any other phone or internet scam using clever psychological techniques: victims are groomed, lulled into thinking everything’s ok, yes we’ll do this; and it’s only in the cold light of some hours later that people pause and realise, or in this case they should realise, they have in reality been tricked out of their hard earned cash.
Don’t do it, don’t play their game, don’t buy the tickets. No demand - no price rise.
We should remember it’s not that long ago that Silverstone gave away F1 tickets because attendance was so poor. I guess it is the presence of three British drivers in the top half dozen or so F1 drivers that has increased interest in the British F1 Grand Prix. The self-serving cynics who run Silverstone are exploiting that.
The bottom line of course is that as I write prices have reached levels that are probably unaffordable for many ordinary fans. If you have the kind of job that means you are not in a position to spend all day on your phone waiting in a queue, and prices have gone through the roof and beyond your means by the time you log on then you are excluded from attending.
I wonder what Lewis, George and Lando think to their loyal fans being unfairly priced out of the opportunity to watch them race? Perhaps they don’t care – who knows?
A couple of days ago Luffield price had risen to £609 with seats left – they are now sold out. I am sorry to see so many gullible people – obviously they must be the rich and gullible so that’s ok. After all in the scheme of things there are many more important things than twenty cars hurtling around a circle of tarmac as fast as they can.