Pokémon Go players contact UK Advertising Standards Authority after discovering hidden ticket costs for Safari Zone Liverpool

Not a good look for Niantic.

Image via Niantic

Niantic opened up ticket sales for Safari Zone Liverpool earlier today, offering Pokémon Go players the opportunity to meet up with players and catch rare Pokémon like Relicanth in the first U.K. Safari Zone. But there were immediately some big issues with the process.

Once the tickets went live at 2am CT and players started trying to purchase them, they found out that the initial price of £12 ($13) for a standard ticket or £18 ($19.51) for early access entry wasn’t actually the full cost. 

Players reached the checkout process and saw an additional £3 to £4.20 ($3.25 to $4.55) added to the ticket cost due to taxes and another £3 ($3.25) flat fee charged for online ticketing fees. This increased the cost of each ticket by about $6 or $7 just in fees, which doesn’t even include the additional costs that a City Explorer Pass could add. 

Upon finding all of the hidden costs, fans began contacting the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to request transparency from Niantic during the checkout process. In the U.K., it’s illegal to hide fees and taxes. Ticket listings must include all taxes, fees, and other non-optional sales figures. 

“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 ASA rules read. “If it is not possible to calculate the charge in advance, for example because it depends on the consumer’s circumstances, the advertisement must make clear that the charge is excluded from the advertised price and state how it will be calculated (Rule 3.19).”

The U.K. ASA confirmed in a statement to Eurogamer that it received more than 180 complaints about the event’s ticketing and will contact Niantic about the event and other details. 

“We can confirm that we’ve so far received over 180 complaints about the advertising of tickets for this event,” an ASA spokesperson said. “We consider the omission of taxes and service charges in the ad is a clear problem under our rules. We are in the process of contacting the advertiser so that we can instruct them to amend their misleading advertising.”

After the ASA made contact with Niantic, the company quickly fixed its pricing to reflect the rules set in place for ticketing sales. 

“Previous advertising for Pokémon Go Safari Zone Liverpool tickets didn’t include the service fee and VAT costs,” a Niantic spokesperson told Eurogamer. “We’re updating all ticket listings today.”

The official blog post about the ticketing information for Safari Zone Liverpool has been updated to include all of the accurate prices, which include taxes and fees in the total price. Niantic also apologized to its players for the error. 

Safari Zone Liverpool will run from April 17 to 19. Trainers will be able to encounter rare Pokémon and other extra content.