Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another Complaint Over World Cup Ticketing

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (GCO) has filed a complaint against the method used to sell tickets for the 2006 World Cup. This marks the third complaint filed against FIFA concerning ticketing this year.

This latest complaint is due to the way people have to pay for tickets. In case you don't know, fans have been able to submit for a blind ticket draw, but they have to pre-pay all the tickets they request. So I could make a request for 2 tickets for 5 matches (even though I will not know who is playing in them till Dec 9th) and my credit card will be charged for the price of the 10 tickets, plus a 5-euro non-refundable fee. However, I am not guaranteed these tickets. FIFA will let me know later if I got these tickets. If I do not get the tickets for 3 matches, they will refund my credit card the cost of those 6 tickets.

The problem is, I will not know till February if I got these tickets. So unless I pay off the full balance on my credit card, I will have to pay interest on the money FIFA took out in November. A German member of the European parliament's Liberals group described this practice as such: "It can't be that fans are forced to provide an interest-free loan to the organizer without getting anything in return.''

Personally, I looked at buying blind tickets, but I decided not to specifically for this reason. I didn't want to have a large debt sitting on my card earning interest. Keep in mind that you also have to pay for the most expensive tickets for each match even if you are later awarded cheaper tickets (they do refund the difference). Since these tickets are about $120 each, that adds up fast.

Hopefully something will happen, but I think it's going to be a bit late. By the way, an earlier complaint resulted in requiring FIFA to make tickets available in local currencies. At first, all ticket sales were in euros, causing people outside of the 12 counties that use the euro to pay fees to convert their money. Now people in England can pay with pounds while Americans can pay with dollars. This was a smart move.


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