Chiefs bosses vow to track ticket scalpers

ANGELA CUMING
Last updated 05:00 03/08/2012

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Chiefs franchise bosses have warned they will track down anyone looking to onsell their tickets to tomorrow's Super Rugby final at inflated prices - no matter how long it takes.

And any opportunists found selling scalped tickets may never get to watch the Chiefs play again.

"Even if we can't stop them selling the tickets this week we won't be letting the matter rest," said Chiefs commercial and marketing manager Sean Austin.

"This is something we take very seriously and when we find out who has been scalping the tickets we will be exploring our options."

A blacklisting of scalpers could not be ruled out, he said.

By yesterday evening there were 19 separate listings for tickets on Trade Me.

One listing for three Green zone tickets - with a face value of $20 each - sold for $403.

Mr Austin said anyone buying a scalped ticket risked being turned away at the gate.

"Under our terms and conditions of sale we are entitled to cancel any tickets purchased or on-sold at a premium," he said.

The Chiefs were working behind the scenes to track down the sellers and scalpers and it made little difference if a photo of the ticket - with its traceable barcode - had not been posted, he said.

"Trade Me has a mechanism whereby people leave feedback, emails and phone numbers can be exchanged, that sort of thing," he said.

"We only need the name of a customer and then we can trace the sales back and cancel the ticket."

Loyal Chiefs fans were also doing their own detective work, he said.

"Already we have been supplied with the details of several scalpers and we have had those listings removed," he said.

"There are a lot of people who are very annoyed at what some people are doing, the blatant profiteering from a sellout game."

The frustration the public has felt towards scalpers - which has seen sellers bombarded by hateful and angry messages on Trade Me - has been compounded by frustration at Ticket Direct.

The company has suffered a public backlash after thousands of people were left stuck in an online queue for hours only to miss out on tickets, raising doubts about its "first in, first served" policy.

Ticket Direct now appears to have gone into damage control, deleting the hundreds of comments from its Facebook page from angry would-be matchgoers and blocking anyone from posting on its page.

But Mr Austin has defended Ticket Direct. He said about 80 per cent of the 12,000 tickets that went on sale to the general public at 8am on Wednesday were sold online.

Despite an online petition call for the Chiefs to ditch Ticket Direct, the franchise says it will stick with the company.

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But Mr Austin declined to tell the Waikato Times how long the contract with Ticket Direct extended for.

Ticket Direct's national account manager Janeen Still has not responded to the Times' repeated requests for comment.

- Waikato Times

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