I've just sent this email to the Birmingham Academy.
Last night my brother, a friend and I went to see the Mars Volta gig. Of the many times Iâ€™ve been to the Academy, this was the worst experience.
Firstly â€“ Iâ€™d booked the tickets and arranged to pick them up at the box office. A couple of days ago, the card Iâ€™d booked the tickets on was eaten by a cash machine for no apparent reason. I thought this would cause problems so I rang up to check I could still pick the tickets up. I went on the website to find a contact number. There are 4 numbers on the contact page, an info line, the box office, the Academy group and the press office. It made sense to me to call the box office.
I spoke to someone there and they said as long as I had the confirmation code and another form of ID, they said it would be fine. I had my train pass which has my name and my picture on and I was told this would be sufficient.
In the queue waiting to pick up the tickets, the man before me had lost his confirmation code but he had his card. This seemed to be fine and he wasnâ€™t grilled for any more information. But when I tried to pick up my tickets things started to go wrong. I was told I couldnâ€™t pick the tickets up without a signature that could be checked on my card. The aggressive and sarcastic girl in the box office told me I should have checked it out first, I told her I had, she told me I should have rung the Academy to check, I said I thought I had when ringing the Birmingham Academy box office number found on the website. No, apparently, this is the wrong number to ring, I should have realised!
The fact that I could name the last 4 digits of my card, show id with my name and face, tell her my address and postcode, show her the confirmation code, show my brotherâ€™s ID to at least go some way to proving my surname, but no, it still wasnâ€™t enough. The lines of efficiency and common sense had blurred. She rang her manager and of course the manager said straight away that it was ok and I hope she was told to not be so bloody petty.
She continued to lecture me though, so I took my tickets and walked away before I said something that I would have regretted.
I also heard a security guard on the door saying to someone who was drinking â€˜youâ€™re not coming into my gig with thatâ€™ not â€˜can you just finish that drink pleaseâ€™ like most civil people would say. Where do you hire these people?
I appreciate the fact that theyâ€™re all trying to do their job but common sense and manners go a long way.
So, we were finally in the gig. I headed to the bar to order 2 customary pints of Carling. Â£5.90 for the worst tasting beer Iâ€™ve had in all my life. It was beer water. I donâ€™t expect watered down beer for Â£2.95 a pint, nor do I expect it from a venue sponsored by that very same beer. The replacement pints were just as bad but the band came on and I just couldnâ€™t be bothered with more arguing.
I overheard some people near us saying the Grolsch was awful too. So we moved on to bottled beer next time. For this, we paid Â£3.05 a bottle! This is a disgrace.
Then we get to the show itself. The worst sound Iâ€™ve ever heard at an Academy gig. Does the band bring their own sound engineers or does the Academy employ their own? Either way, the person responsible should be fired. The drums were so loud you couldnâ€™t discern between one drum hit and another. The sound was so loud it was breaking up. The speakers popped and vibrated with each bass strum and this all drowned out the guitar. A fantastic band display, totally ruined by inept staff.
In essence, a terrible gig experience and Iâ€™ve been to more than 30 at the Academy alone.
So, what this all boils down to is the fact that I would like a refund. I donâ€™t see why entertainment venues donâ€™t have the same consumer laws applied to them as shops. If I buy a t shirt and it has a hole in it, I am entitled by law for a refund.
If I buy a concert ticket and the whole thing is a shambles, I think I am entitled to a refund too.
Please find below details of the ticket purchase.
I look forward to reading your response in this matter.