The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympics.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Beware The Ticket Touts

Selling tickets on the open market without permission from the Olympic authorities is a criminal offence in the UK under the London Olympic and Paralympic Games Act 2006.

However, the BBC reports that unofficial (and therefore illegal) ticket sellers have been appearing in Google sponsored adverts:

"Liz, who declined to give her full name, contacted the 5 live Investigates team.

"Me and my sisters decided to club together to buy our mum and dad some Olympic tickets," said Liz, who is from Solihull. "So we typed into Google 'Olympic tickets' and at the very, very top of the page was a link to a company called LiveOlympicTickets.

"It was a sponsored ad at the top of the page, so we presumed it was a trusted official site, and we spent £750 on two tickets for my mum and dad to see the 1500m, which is what my dad really wanted."

The advert Liz clicked on was one placed by Google's own AdWords advertising service - one of the company's main sources of income. 

However, after placing her order, Liz received an email from the company informing her that they could not complete the sale until she faxed over a copy of her signature.

"That's when alarm bells began ringing," said Liz.

LiveOlympicTickets is not an officially recognised 2012 Olympic ticket reseller.

A family member of Liz's wrote to Google, and received this reply: "While Google AdWords provides a platform for companies to advertise their services, we are not responsible for, nor are we able to monitor the actions of each company."

Promoting ticket touts The Metropolitan Police, which is dedicated to stopping crime associated with the 2012 games through Operation Podium, said it is aware of LiveOlympicTickets and that the company is breaking the law.

However, as the company is registered overseas, it may be difficult to prosecute as it is outside the UK's jurisdiction.

The maximum penalty fine for reselling Olympic tickets without authorisation from the Olympic authorities was raised last year from £5,000 to £20,000. 

Despite this, Google has placed adverts for unofficial ticket resellers which are breaking the law by selling London 2012 tickets to customers in the UK. 

In this case, LiveOlympicTickets was Google's top sponsored link for 2012 tickets - and remained so for more than a week even after the Metropolitan Police had asked the search engine to remove the advertisement. 

The company link was finally removed after 5 live Investigates contacted Google."

Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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