Letters: Online Fringe box office tickets a farce

Friday marked the launch of the Edinburgh Fringe box office, and it would appear the organisation refuses to learn lessons from previous years.

I logged on at 8am to book tickets. After one-and-a-half hours of slow-moving web pages, I eventually made it to the payment screen.

While I was attempting to make my purchases, I was advised that as I had been online too long my basket would be cleared. This was after waiting on the payment page to accept my payment for 20 minutes.

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I visited the Fringe office to ask if they could tell me if my payment had been accepted. I was advised "probably" not.

I asked what they could do for me. They advised that the server couldn't handle the volume of traffic and there was nothing they could do. They suggested I join the box office queue or telephone. As I had an appointment, I decided to telephone.

After half-an-hour of engaged tones, I got through and was placed at number 14 in the queue. After 55 minutes, I had made it to No 1. Once connected, a recorded message advised me that the box office had now closed and to call back later.

Back online, I find that all the tickets I wanted are no longer available.

The Fringe may claim it is getting on top of its logistics problems and that things are getting better. I've seen little evidence of it.


Trinity Crescent


Trying to secure tickets for some of the BBC free shows on the Fringe site early on Friday morning, I entered my card details to pay the admin fee and was without warning taken to a page claiming to be from Verified by Visa (VbV) that needed a password.

Having encountered this system before and knowing I had no choice, but just to trust it was not fake (there is no way to check), I entered the correct password and was, eventually, returned to the billing page with an error message.

Subsequent attempts to pay, even with another card, were met with the error that a 3DS transaction (that is, VbV) was pending.

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This was still the case half-an-hour later when my basket "timed out", so that the tickets I had hoped to secure, and have possibly paid for, were lost.

It is also possible that my card has now been deactivated for use through my bank falsely detecting suspicious activity.




Every year we hear complaints about people spending hours trying to get early Edinburgh Festival tickets while the overloaded Fringe's box office system does its best.

Have they ever tried releasing tickets in tranches, the way T in the Park does?


Dalnair Street