Hundreds caught up in Olympic ticket scam
When the halfpipe tickets they bought through eSeats.com failed to arrive, Martha Hight phoned the company to see what was going on.
The response came in the form of an email: The tickets weren’t coming because eSeats couldn’t get them from Action Seating.
“ It was the most traumatic afternoon,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview from California.
The owner of Action Seating, Gene Hammet, did not return a call for comment, but he sent a letter to clients last month outlining the issue.
“ We learned that the tickets would not be forthcoming due to a failure by the ticket source to pay an alleged financing company in Hong Kong,” reads the letter, according to a copy posted in an industry publication.
“According to the ticket source, the Hong Kong company refuses to release the tickets and instead has claimed a right to hold and sell them.”
The letter went on to say that Action Seating couldn’t confirm the identity of the Hong Kong company and believes “ that Action Seating may be a victim of fraud.”
Around $3 million is believed to have vanished in the transaction and, with it, roughly 12,000 promised seats at the Games.
The Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, known as VANOC, has been warning potential ticket buyers for years that the only legitimate source of seats at the Games is either them or one of their official retailers, which include travel company Roadtrips Inc., and Olympic sponsors Jet Set Sports and CoSport.
Hight said the family had tried to go through CoSport but the tickets were sold out, and that’s why they resorted to an online broker, paying $270 per ticket. Now that those have fallen through, she’s gone back online and shelled out over $400 per ticket this time.
Workers shovel snow at Cypress Mountain, a venue for freestyle skiing and snowboard, in West Vancouver, B.C., Thursday. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games begin Feb. 12.