After experiencing similar problems to the majority of reviewers here, I thought I'd pay extra and become a priority pass member to try and guarantee a seat - bearing in mind the travelling expenses incurred just getting to and from the venues.
Well on the 3rd October , 2011 we made our way to London's Shepherds Bush studio to watch Chris Moyles' evening show. We arrived in plenty of time, had a meal and made our way to the studio, an hour prior to the notified performance time. However, we were met by an Applause Store usher (Josh - with the dyed white hair) who informed us that the show had been brought forward to 2pm! He said that everyone had been emailed that day to pre-warn them. I checked my emails and no such email had been sent to my account.
What a wasted trip and return train fare expense. On writing to Applause Store to express my disappointment and requesting some sort of compensation due to the fact that they clearly had not informed me of the change, they simply have ignored me. I have written to the BBC, who did promptly respond, but could only refer me back to the Applause Store. Repeated emails to the Applause Store have still produced no response whatever.
Clearly, the shows require audiences and this is the most efficient way for the organisers to populate the studios - by offering free seats. Unfortunately not everyone is guaranteed a seat - I understand and accept that. However, it is also clear that the Applause Store infrastructure is under resourced, lacking in admin support and obviously staffed by untrained people who lack any respect for those who actually pay money to receive a service.
These pathetic individuals simply see themselves as cattle herders, cutting off the queues as soon as the numbers are made up and if there are short notice changes, their attitude is "tough" and they feel no obligation to provide accurate and reliable real time information.
I will continue to write to them and to any forum I can find, recording every communication, eventually becoming such a pain that they will respond.