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Consumer Authority warns of fraudulent World Cup football tickets

The Netherlands Consumer Authority is warning consumers who wish to buy tickets for the forthcoming football event World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Once the lots have been drawn and the group classification is known, tickets will become available for football fans across the entire world via various channels. The Consumer Authority is warning against fraudulent and misleading websites, in particular, on which football tickets are supplied. It calls upon consumers to find out as much as they can before they buy a ticket. In an international context, the Consumer Authority is working in collaboration with consumer enforcement authorities across the entire world to deal with parties who mislead football fans. It provides information to assist football fans via its information desk, ConsuWijzer.

Bogus websites and lotteries

Consumers who buy tickets for global sporting events such as these must be alert, in particular, to bogus websites and special offers via e-mail that come from parties who wrongfully claim to have organised a lottery on behalf of FIFA. Consumers must take special care if they are told that they have won a football ticket as a prize, especially if they have to pay money and are asked for their personal details first, before they are able to receive their prize.

Foreign websites selling World Cup tickets

If consumers try to obtain tickets via foreign websites, it is best to check thoroughly in advance as to which party is behind the website. If something goes wrong with a purchase from a foreign website, it is even more difficult to seek legal redress.

Buying World Cup tickets in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, football fans can buy tickets for a match of the Dutch team via the official channels of FIFA and the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB). Some suppliers make consumers believe that they are an official sales channel by wrongfully making use of official logos or logos that are very similar to the official ones, or by stating the name 'FIFA' in their web address.

Ticket outlets or retailers can also buy tickets for matches of the Dutch team. It is important that consumers find out as much as they can in advance with regard to the possible risks that they run and/or whether these are sufficiently covered by the Terms and Conditions of Supply that have been adopted. One of the risks is that they will be refused access to the stadium if tickets have not been issued in the person's name.

Tickets are sometimes offered in combination with a journey. In this context, too, consumers must find out as much as they can about the terms and conditions before they make their purchase.

Marije Hulshof, Director of the Consumer Authority explains: "All kinds of parties can be found on the market surrounding popular events such as these. Unfortunately, a great deal of chaff can be found amongst the wheat in this regard. This is why it is good that attention is paid to this matter in an international context. Football fans sometimes set a large sum of money aside to attend a match in South Africa. By ensuring they are fully informed, they can prevent themselves from being disappointed."

Since today, information has been made available for consumers at ConsuWijzer, which they must take note of when ordering World Cup tickets on the internet. Consumers can also report their experiences on ConsuWijzer.

This warning is a global initiative of all members of the ICPEN (International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network), to warn consumers of fraudulent practices simultaneously around the time when the World Cup tickets first go on sale.