Monday, January 11, 2010

Recommendation/Warning for Anyone Buying 2010 Olympics Tickets

I've been trying to help some out-of-town friends buy tickets for the Olympics.  There are several places you can find them.  Here are two of the most popular sources:
Sadly, such a popular event is ripe for scams aplenty.  So to help protect my friends, I called up the Vancouver 2010 Ticketing Call Centre.  I spoke with a nice gentleman, Brian, and presented him with my "brilliant" idea of meeting a potential seller directly at a VANOC Ticket Centre, getting them to determine whether or not the tickets were legitimate, and then paying the seller right there & then if they were okay.  Sounds foolproof, right?  Sadly, it's not.

Brian explained to me that even though those tickets could very well be legitimate upon verification, an unethical seller could still go online to the Fan-to-Fan Marketplace and resell the tickets again electronically.  Once sold online then the barcodes of the original physical tickets would become invalid.  But you would only learn of this when you arrived at the gate.  :-(

If the scam is not crystal clear then think of this analogy: Someone offers to rent you an apartment.  You meet them there, check it out, and decide to take it.  So you give them the first month's rent and get a set of keys.  You double-check that the keys do indeed open the door.  You walk away, happy.  But when you come back to move in, suddenly the keys no longer work.  Why?  Because the locks have been changed and another person, who has also paid the rent, does have keys that work for that new lock.

So is there a full-proof way to buy tickets?  Yes.  What you have to do is insist that the seller go through the Fan-To-Fan Marketplace: to convince them to do this you may very well have to pick up their 10% seller's fee (in addition to your own 10% buyer's fee).  And to ensure that you get to buy the tickets, you would have to coordinate when they put them on sale, with you say logging in 60 seconds later.  I assume that this could be done with both parties on the phone at the time.

Yes, this is indeed a hassle but I think it's much better than paying money, worrying about the legitimacy of the tickets right up until event time, and then possibly ending up with nothing. Note: In order to access the Fan-to-Fan Marketplace you have to have access to a Canadian address. Perhaps these guys are going to do a thriving new business in February!

If you have any more questions, please call the ticketing call centre at 1.800.TICKETS or write them at

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