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BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS

Bad experience with Ticketmaster regarding their handling of Buffalo Bills tickets. Good experience with the Bills ticket office.

My son, Graham, and I are big-time Bills fans. However, we have a difficult time getting to see the Bills because we live in California. This year Graham has a fall break from school so we planned a trip to Buffalo to visit his Grandpa and cousins and together attend the Denver game today. Unfortunately, a clerical error by Ticketmaster almost ruined our plans.

Let me explain: On Sept. 16, 1997, I called Ticketmaster to order the tickets. I ordered five tickets (upper deck, 20-yard line). I gave the agent my credit card number, address, phone number, etc. and asked if they would mail the tickets to my father in Buffalo. The agent said they can only mail to the address on the credit card; I responded OK, mail them to me at my California address. The agent said I would receive the tickets at least three weeks in advance of the event. I then purchased airline tickets accordingly.

On Oct. 21, I phoned Ticketmaster's customer service, concerned that I had not yet received my tickets. Chris found my record in the computer and told me that it indicated credit card decline. I explained that this was impossible because I carry ZERO balance on my credit cards (the credit card company confirmed that there was no credit denial). Chris admitted that the agent should have called me back if that were the case. Chris then told me that maybe the call was disconnected before the transaction was confirmed. I asked Chris for a supervisor, he said Andrea would call me back.

Three hours later I called and asked for Andrea, customer service supervisor. Andrea was aware of the problem but admittedly did not plan on calling me back. I explained the lengthy conversation I had with the agent on Sept. 16, which included details on where and when the tickets would be mailed, etc. Andrea said that I must have disconnected the call and therefore the transaction was canceled. I explained that this was simply not the case and that there was an obvious clerical error. Her suggestion was to purchase 5 single seats. When I told her that letting a 7-year-old boy sit by himself among 80,000 strangers was a ridiculous and irresponsible suggestion, she hung up on me.

Out of frustration I called the Buffalo Bills office and spoke with Amy. She was courteous and empathetic and went to work right away. She really felt bad for the boys who were counting on seeing this game. Not to mention for me having plane tickets but no game tickets. The worst part would be trying to explain this to three young boys. As I was writing this letter, Amy called back with good news! She was able to come up with five tickets located together.

My thanks to Amy and the Buffalo Bills.
JOHN T. WILBERT
Saugus, Calif.

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