AFL and NRL fans on alert for ticket scams as illegal listings removed from resale platforms | AFL

Football fans are being warned to look out for fraudulent websites amid record demand for finals tickets, with dozens of listings on resale platforms being removed by government officials each day in the first week of the finals.

Despite the concerns, desperate fans have taken to social media to pursue tickets, with dozens of posts and hundreds of comments from fanseither seeking to buy or claiming to sell tickets to Friday’s AFL semi-final between Melbourne and Carlton. The game is set to fill the MCG, with general public tickets selling out on Monday within eight minutes of release.

Almost 290,000 fans attended the AFL’s first week of finals to set a new record, and grounds were all-but-full at three of the four matches. In the NRL, tickets were scarce due the league’s policy of allowing first-week finals to be played at suburban stadiums.

Victorian government officials monitoring platforms such as eBay, Gumtree, Ticket Merchant, Viagogo and StubHub removed listings for 169 tickets in the first week of finals. In Victoria it is illegal to advertise or resell a ticket to an AFL final for more than 10% of the purchase price.

The minister for sport, Steve Dimopoulos, said every final is covered under the laws: “We’re making sure footy fans are paying a fair price for their tickets, so everyone has the best possible chance to cheer on their footy idols in the finals.”

Similar laws cover all New South Wales events. NSW Fair Trading has written to eBay and 15 other similar platforms, and provided them with a list of events which may present a high risk. The minister for fair trading, Anoulack Chanthivong, said “we hear it in the leadup to major events too often, fans and consumers are getting ripped off and it’s unacceptable.”

In 2022, eBay was issued with $44,000 worth of fines after several NRL grand final tickets appeared on the platform at up to 149% of the original price. The company said it is working more closely with the NRL and NSW officials this year, including using a portal that allows illegal listing of tickets to be pulled down within two hours. It has also increased monitoring of its own website to remove contravening ads this year. An eBay spokesperson said the company “takes its responsibilities in relation to ticket resale seriously”.

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The ACCC has warned consumers to proceed with caution and carry out a series of checks before buying tickets. These include identifying the authorised seller, checking that tickets aren’t on sale on resale platforms before their actual release, checking that websites are secure – that they use “https” at the start of the URL, rather than “http” – and checking whether a ticket seller who comes up first in online search results is not a reseller who may have paid to be at the top of the list.

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