Hun­dreds caught up in Olympic ticket scam



When the half­pipe tick­ets they bought through 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.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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