See Ticket’s Sneaky UI Dark Pattern

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Buying tickets can be a stressful business. Some gigs sell out in minutes, others never do — but you can never be sure, so being in front of your computer with credit card in hand when the tickets go on sale is the safest way to ensure you see the gig you want to see.

Last Friday Deep Purple tickets went on sale at The Roundhouse. Unsurprisngly, their website was in lock down mode due to massive traffic — both Deep Purple and David Byrne and Saint Vincent tickets went on sale at 9am that day. At position 350 in the queue, I wasn’t sure if I’d get tickets — and certainly not before 9:30am or so, and I was already running late for work.

Thankfully tickets were available on both Ticketmaster and Seetickets. I quickly compared prices between the two, and Seetickets was slightly cheaper — or so I thought.

On the payment page below, I believed I’d be paying £83.81. I usually check forms quite thoroughly before hitting “Buy”, but I was admittedly in a rush… so I got caught out by the sneaky trap below. Can you see it?

See tickets

This is the trap: I require Cancellation Protection for my tickets (additional cost £3.00) and I agree to the terms and conditions.

Not only is it pre-checked, the text at the end “terms and conditions” makes this at a casual glance look very much like a boring T&C checkbox. But no, it’s not: and by not unselecting this box, it added £3.00 extra to my bill.

The next page it confirmed this additional cost — after I’d entered my credit card details and been debited.

See tickets checkout

I can only see this as being a calculated ploy to trick users into buying ticket cancellation insurance. Consider the design below, which is what a more honest retailer would show:

See tickets redux

Now to be fair to See Tickets, they have refunded me on this, and their customer service is very good on Twitter — although their feedback form on the website wasn’t working when I tried to complain about this dupe.

I hope See Tickets rectify this design, as it is totally misleading and unfortunately a classic example of a Dark Pattern in UI.

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