Pokémon Go fans have found their tickets to the UK’s first Safari Zone event cost more than expected – due to the addition of previously-unmentioned tax and fees just before checkout.
Liverpool Safari Zone event tickets went live this morning at 8am UK time and – up until the ticket-buying process’ penultimate screen – are listed as either £12 for a standard ticket or £18 for early access entry.
This is the price also advertised by Niantic in its blog post announcing the event and in-game news post, which do not mention any additional taxes or fees are necessary.
But on reaching the latter stages of the ticket selection process, a £3/£4.20 charge for “tax” and a further, flat £3 charge for “fees” is then applied.
This makes the £12 standard ticket jump to £18, while the £18 early access ticket actually costs £25.20.
That’s all without the additional City Explorer Pass, which bumps the tax category even higher – £4.60 for a standard ticket, or £5.80 for one with early access.
Now, fans have said they are contacting the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to state that Niantic should have disclosed the need to pay tax on top of the ticket prices listed.
This is not the case in the US, where Niantic is based. But in the UK, the ASA guidance on this appears clear:
“Rule 3.18 of the CAP Code states that ‘quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers’.”
The only exception would be for costs to taxpayers who would normally recover VAT, or for those who pay none in the first place. Neither category is likely to apply to most ticket buyers.
“Consumers usually have to pay VAT and can’t generally recover it,” the ASA continues. “If customers are consumers, all prices quoted in ads should include VAT in the stated price.”
Associated costs, such as the “fees” Niantic adds, should also be stated upfront.
Eurogamer has contacted Niantic and the ASA. We’ll update when we have a response.