Australian consumer watchdog issues dodgy FIFA World Cup tickets warning

The ACCC is warning Australian consumers to beware of dodgy websites selling tickets to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.In its annual ‘International Internet Sweep’ the consumer regulator said its review of more than 1400 websites indicated online ticketing had emerged as an area of concern.
http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/325451/Also see:International internet sweep highlights problem websites [news release]
Early results from this year’s International Internet Sweep underscore the need for continued consumer vigilance, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Peter Kell has warned.”During the Sweep, Australian consumer protection agencies reviewed more than 1,400 websites and flagged more than 400 for further analysis.”Results indicate that online ticketing has emerged as an area of concern,” Mr Kell said.”In this year’s Sweep, the ACCC identified an unauthorised site offering tickets for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa at www.worldcupticketing.com. The ACCC is working with FIFA and MATCH Services to protect Australian consumers from such sites. MATCH Services is FIFA’s agent for Cup ticketing and looks after the ticketing enforcement program.”The only way consumers can buy a ticket is through the FIFA ticket allocation or from a licensed tour operator authorised to sell tickets on FIFA’s behalf as part of a travel package,” Mr Kell said.”We really appreciate the initiative of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, in protecting consumers from unauthorised sales of 2010 FIFA World Cup™ tickets. We have a common goal to protect true fans who are being cheated by unauthorized ticket touts who are purporting to sell legitimate tickets they do not have,” remarked FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.Mr Kell said that while ticketing sites have almost ended long queues, they have also opened up a new avenue for fraudsters.& Suspect business operators offer tickets to events with no guarantee that they can deliver, leaving buyers empty handed when the occasion arrives.The annual Internet Sweep also highlighted other areas of concern including:

  • a proliferation of business opportunities marketed as ‘recession proof’ and a way to a substantial income with limited effort
  • unsubstantiated health claims and cures, and
  • sports investment sites that promise easy returns.

The Internet Sweep is coordinated by the ACCC as part of its work within the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), a network of consumer protection law enforcement authorities from more than 40 countries.ICPEN members are meeting in Sydney from 9 November, and the problems sites identified by the Sweep will be among issues to be discussed. The ACCC, through its Deputy Chair Mr Kell, is currently the President of ICPEN.”The Internet Sweep highlights the importance of cross border cooperation to combat these types of online scams,” Mr Kell said.”Enforcement agencies from around the globe are increasingly working together through organisations like ICPEN to combat internet fraud. Preliminary international results saw thousands of websites reviewed around the globe, with around two thousand earmarked for further analysis and potential action.”The Sweep also highlights the need for consumers to be careful online, especially when providing payment or personal information.”While the internet offers great opportunities for communication and gives access to a wider range of goods and services, it also provides extensive opportunities for scammers to target consumers,” he said.Victims of deceptive practices on the Internet originating from outside Australia can register their complaint at www.econsumer.gov, ICPEN’s complaint site. Twenty-five consumer protection agencies monitor conduct through the site, taking enforcement action where possible.The ICPEN Membership is: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea. Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal , Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America. Partner status: (Membership granted after two year partnership period): Turkey, El Salvador, Barbados and Panama. Observer status: European Union and the OECD.
http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/900938/fromItemId/142

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