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OFT secures refunds for consumers following Olympic ticket investigation

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67/12 1 August 2012

 

Following an OFT investigation, Euroteam AS, Uncus AS, Ticket and Travel AS and the controlling director of these companies, Andreas Gyrre, have given undertakings to the High Court in relation to the unauthorised sale of tickets to the London Olympics. Under the terms of the undertakings, the traders have committed to provide a full refund to any of their customers who either do not receive their tickets or are refused entry to an event as the tickets supplied are not valid. People who are refused entry should ensure that they retain their tickets, or get a receipt from the Games Organisers if their ticket is seized indicating that the customer was unable to gain entry. They should send a copy of their void ticket or the receipt to the trader when applying for their refund. The traders have also promised the High Court that they will make their contact details available on their websites so that customers can submit their refund requests easily.

 

Last week, the Honorable Mr Justice Kenneth Parker granted an interim enforcement order requiring 12 websites owned and operated by the Norway based traders to stop selling Olympic tickets, failing which the OFT would be able to have the sites redirected to a holding page. He ruled that the traders had misled consumers by failing to make clear that they were unauthorised to sell Olympic tickets, that they may not be able to supply the tickets ordered, and any tickets they do supply may not in fact allow the purchaser to enter the Games. Following the traders' agreeing to undertakings, the OFT agreed to release six of the websites.

 

The investigation was initially launched over concerns that the traders are not authorised to sell Olympic tickets. The OFT has worked in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and Serious Organised Crime Authority (SOCA) during the course of the investigation. Under the terms of conditions of the tickets, the tickets are only valid if purchased from an authorised ticket seller. In July 2012, the OFT was informed that approximately 20,000 tickets were purchased from the websites but the traders had only sourced 5,000 to supply.

 

Jason Freeman, Legal Director in the OFT's Goods and Consumer Group said: 'This is an important agreement from the traders to provide refunds to anyone who finds their ticket does not turn up or is turned away from an event because their ticket is not valid. 'Lots of people want to go to see the Olympics, but you need to be careful about where you go to get your ticket. Only authorised sellers can guarantee to supply you a ticket, and if you buy from someone else, even if your ticket arrives, you may be refused entry to the Games.' Customers that may have purchased tickets from these traders should contact the trader at Evolve, Martin Linges vei 25, 1364 Fornebu, Oslo. The email address is contact@euroteam.net. People wishing to purchase tickets for the Olympics should visit www.tickets.London2012.com.

 

NOTES

  1. See the case page for this investigation.
  2. There will be a final hearing on this matter later this year.
  3. The High Court granted an interim enforcement order on 24 July to allow the following websites to be directed to a domain holding page:
     
    - http://www.londonsummergames.org
    - http://www.londonsummergames.net
    - http://www.summergames2012.org
    - http://www.olympicticket.info
    - http://www.2012tickets.org
    - http://www.euroteamtickets.com
    - http://www.euroteam.info
    - http://www.euroteam.net
    - http://www.euroteam.travel
    - http://www.euroteamtickets.wordpress.com
    - us.euroteam.info
    - www.worldticketservice.net
  4. Following the traders agreeing to undertakings on 27 July 2012, the sites released by the OFT were http://www.euroteam.net, http://www.euroteam.info, http://www.euroteamtickets.com, http://www.euroteam.travel, http://www.worldticketservice.net and http://www.2012tickets.org. Of these sites the first five now only sell tickets for events other than the Olympics (the Olympics content having been removed by the trader since the sites were taken down last week). The sixth site contains information for consumers who have already bought an Olympic ticket from the trader to track their order, or to provide an up to date delivery address.
  5. The OFT worked with the Metropolitan Police's Operation Podium and SOCA to secure an interim enforcement order under the Enterprise Act 2002, for breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and unfair contractual terms under Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCRs) thereby stopping the trader selling Olympic tickets.
  6. People can report potential ticket fraud to Action Fraud.
  7. Operation Podium is the Metropolitan Police's dedicated response to serious and organised crime affecting the economy of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
  8. SOCA tackles serious organised crime that affects the UK and our citizens.
  9. The CPRs contain a general prohibition against unfair commercial practices and, specifically, prohibitions against misleading actions, misleading omissions and aggressive commercial practices. The Regulations are enforceable through the civil and criminal courts. See further information and advice for businesses.
  10. The UTCCRs apply to standard contract terms with consumers and protect consumers against unfair standard terms in contracts they make with traders. The OFT can take legal action to prevent the use of potentially unfair terms. A term is likely to be considered unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations under the contract, to the detriment of consumers. A consumer is not bound by a standard term in a contract with a trader if that term is unfair. Ultimately, only a court can decide whether a term is unfair.

Link: http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2012/67-12


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