Cinema fined for Online Booking Fee

Palace Cinemas has paid a penalty of $10,800 after being issued with an infringement notice by the ACCC for failing to prominently disclose the total single price, including the compulsory booking fee, for cinema tickets purchased using its online booking process. More from the ACCC.

This outcome follows broader ACCC engagement with the online cinema ticketing industry, aimed at improving pricing practices.

Have you been hit by hidden fees when booking your cinema tickets online?

Both Palace and Dendy display the booking fee prominently - at least they do now - but I totally fail to understand how they can justify charging it anyway. Surely it’s a lot cheaper in terms of staff time if someone rocks up to the counter with a piece of paper which merely has to be scanned, as opposed to all the fiddling round with cash or credit cards when buying tickets the old-fashioned way. The cinemas can’t even argue that on-line purchasers need to help pay their website costs, as they have to run sophisticated websites anyway just to keep the public informed of what movies they are showing.
Choice - how do you feel about starting a campaign to get rid of cinema booking fees?


Thanks for the suggestion @kortravel99, it’s something we can consider.

@npatch looked into online fees late last year as part of her article on Premium cinema experiences, and found that ‘gold class’ experiences have an even higher booking fee than ‘regular’ tickets, which doesn’t make much sense either from an admin point of view.


See it from just $14.50. lets just hide the conditions behind a * shall we

This is the Dendy site, they don’t display it until you click through and complete the booking process. There is a flat $1.20 booking fee on each ticket booked via the website. If you click on that banner you are taken through to the website booking where you’ll be paying $15.70 per ticket. And this is only revealed at the end.

I think this is misleading and I contacted them to say so.

They called me and said that this price was only available if you booked in person at the box office. Which is not clear at all in the ad.


I notice in the article it says the Ultimate Gold Class package is the worst package deal because it would cost $5 less to buy the items separately. That actually wasn’t our experience last weekend. By buying the deal we immediately had $6.50 in booking fees waived (presumably included in the package, we still had to pay the $3.25 booking fee for the third ticket we bought along with the package). The food items we chose all cost over $15 each (between $16-19, but don’t remember the exact combination) if bought separately (ie over $75 total) and the price of 2 adult tickets was $82, so straight away that takes the total over $163.5 and we haven’t even added the included drinks yet (I didn’t note the price to buy those separately) but I estimate that would have taken us to around $180 total and we paid $155. We would certainly NOT have saved $5 buying everything separately!

There were cheaper food options that could have lead to a smaller total, but they weren’t items we would have chosen.


The “admin” savings of on-line bookings are obvious and very significant. Booking fees are not just outrageous, they are immoral. I’d really like to hear the spin explaining why premium tickets attract an even higher fee.


I completely agree with you kortravel99. It is a bloody ripoff. It is why I avoid these online tickets like the plague.

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Thanks avdbz429. There’s another relevant question, and it’s this. Why are we charged per ticket rather than per transaction? I find it hard to believe that it costs them say three times as much to process an order for three tickets as opposed to a single-ticket order. It’s high time this whole ripoff was blown apart.


2 posts were split to a new topic: Excessive fees and surcharges

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Excessive fees and surcharges

I think the online booking fees are the biggest rip off. Movies are already so expensive and we have so many choices these days with online streaming services etc. When we do want to see a movie on special occasions I aways buy my tickets through Telstra or Optus or even RACQ. The tickets are cheaper. You can book online and choose your seating and often you also get discounted popcorn and drinks etc as well. I do think there needs to be a better explanation as to why they charge for online tickets when it doesn’t actually cost them that much more once the website is up and running and they are advertising their movies anyway.

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As I wrote, it is a profit centre, not a service, and that is the answer.

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My husband was given a voucher for two Gold Class Event tickets, and (years later) another for the Moonlight Cinema in Sydney’s Centennial Park, and they all went to waste. To see a movie using them, he could either turn up in person to claim, but then the seats for the show would typically be already sold out, OR he could have booked online but he would have had to pay a booking fee, which disgusted him as he didn’t feel he should have to pay to use something received a gift. Plus he couldn’t actually get the booking website to accept payment in the one case he tried, but he spent a good hour trying and getting very frustrated. So they got money for nothing and his gift was just a bit of useless paper in an envelope!

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Interested to know the outcome of this one.

I always book online and pay a (small) fee per ticket with Event Cinema. As I use discount tickets from the RACQ I’ve not been too bothered but as has been pointed out by someone above, it is cheaper for the company for me to book my own ticket online than it would be to stand in front of a paid staff member and do it.

Never thought much about it before, but yes I think we shouldn’t be paying these extra fees.


I agree - I never buy cinema tickets on line any more. Having to pay a booking fee when you are helping the cinema to keep costs down is absolutely ridiculous.


You are absolutely right kortravel99. They are an absolute disgrace on that one as well! Mongrels!

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