The illegal sale of tickets for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has sparked a warning from Surrey County Council Trading Standards after sports fans were left out of pocket.
A host of unofficial websites are offering tickets for sale online despite the fact that under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 it is a criminal offence for unauthorised companies to sell tickets for any of the events.
Trading Standards officers in Surrey have so far received three complaints from people in Hindhead, Walton and Dorking who bought tickets unofficially, with a combined value of almost £1,500. On realising their mistake they contacted the sellers but struggled or failed to get a full refund.
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “In Surrey we’ve had three reports of people who bought tickets online for hundreds of pounds each, not knowing they were doing business with an unofficial seller. When the customers realised their mistake and contacted the seller they were told they couldn’t get a full refund.”
Lucy Corrie, from Surrey County Council Trading Standards, explained there is no guarantee tickets from unofficial outlets will arrive.
She said: “I understand people want to watch the Olympic and Paralympic Games but I would strongly advise them not to risk their money as there are no guarantees tickets bought through unofficial channels will arrive. I’m concerned the number of complaints we receive will increase as London 2012 gets closer.”
Denise Saliagopoulos, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: “If people do miss out on tickets for the 2012 Games they need not despair. They can still come and watch the Olympic cycling road races in Surrey for free on the opening weekend of the Games. We’re also hosting the cycling time trial events so I would invite everyone to come along and enjoy the excitement of seeing world class athletes compete for glory.”
Trading standards officers can only take action against ticket sellers if the tickets fail to arrive in time to attend an event. This is because only then will the contract between the customer and the seller have been broken. Unfortunately by that stage the event the customer paid to see will be over and they would have missed out.
Applications for tickets to the Paralympic Games can be made until 26 September. To apply visit www.tickets.london2012.com