Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fan-to-Fan Furor

So you were a good, obedient Canadian and bought tickets to the 2010 Winter Olympics directly from VANOC. You heeded VANOC warnings that tickets could be cancelled without notice if bought or sold through unauthorized sources, such as sidewalk scalpers or Craigslist brokers.

After months of dillying and dallying, VANOC came up with its own in-house solution, the Fan-to-Fan Marketplace. Essentially, the organizing committee that sought to outlaw scalping became a scalper. It allowed tickets to be sold for whatever price but took a 20% cut of all transactions (10% from the buyer and 10% from the seller) in exchange for listing on and processing the transaction.

Fans were told they'd have to wait until after the Games and wouldn't get their payment before April. Now it's May and VANOC says it put cheques in the mail last week. It said it had to doublecheck addresses.

Of course, wouldn't it be more sustainable to zap payment electronically? Those services are offered in the 21st century.

This time last year, VANOC had well-documented cashflow problems. Those were supposedly solved when the International Olympic Committee agreed to a $22 million bailout last summer. The British Columbia government is the ultimate guarantor.

Anyway, please respond in the forum below or directly to 2010goldrush (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me your Fan-to-Fan Marketplace experience. What was VANOC customer service like? Have you received your cheque? Did it clear the bank?

UPDATE: If you have not been satisfied by VANOC, you have a right to complain. In British Columbia, Consumer Protection BC handles consumer complaints on behalf of the government. The Consumers' Association of Canada is a non-governmental organization that can provide you with information on how to make similar complaints to the authorities if you are outside B.C.

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