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A.C.C.C./S.O.C.O.G. Olympic ticket initiative



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Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

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A C.C.C./S.O.C.O G. OLYMPICJICKETS INITIATIVE

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission welcomes joint ACCC/SOCOG initiatives to help resolve a number of concerns about Olympic ticketing following negotiations yesterday in Sydney.

"An improved outcome for consumers has been achieved", Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman, Professor Allan Pels, said.

SOCOG will offer all customers who secured a 'second alternative' ticket (l.e. their third choice) a refund.

Specifically, SOCOG will write to people who secured second alternative tickets (i.e. their third choice) and offer a refund or credit this amount to their account.

(Some more details are available in a separate attachment entitled Joint SOCOG-ACCC Ticketing Initiatives.)

SOCOG will establish a complaints handling and resolution mechanism led by an independent person with appropriate experience to ensure this refund process proceeds smoothly.

Trained people will be available at the SOCOG call centre to handle any enquiries.

"There was a positive problem-solving approach to the meeting between the ACCC and SOCOG yesterday," Professor Pels said. '

Refunds

Arrangements concerning all refunds (not just those above), were discussed and clarified by the ACCC and SOCOG.

Refunds are being processed and dispatched at the following times: • people who requested a refund of the remaining balance after the first public ballot: Tuesday 9 November 1999; • people who choose additional tickets in the second round and have credit

remaining: 30 November 1999; • people who request a refund on the "second alternative" choice ticket offer [as per the above point]: 15 December 1999; and

PO Box I 199 Dickson ACT 2602

470NunhUuume Avt Dickson ACT2602 Ph (02) 6243 I I I I Fax (02) 62431199 I

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• people who make no request for a refund but for whom a balance remains: 15 December 1999.

Commemorative booklet

People who got nothing in the first round but the commemorative program, will be offered a refund of $15 for the program.

Future consumer protection

SOCOG will develop in consultation with the ACCC consumer protection principles for further SOCOG ticketing offers and promotional material.

An independent consumer protection advisory committee will be established to monitor compliance with the principles and report to the SOCOG board on compliance with these principles.

SOCOG will make these reports publicly available.

SOCOG will periodically report progress with these initiatives to the ACCC.

If the ACCC receives complaints they will be referred to SOCOG at the first instance. SOCOG will address these complaints.

SOCOG and the ACCC will periodically consult with each other to address issues that may have arisen or public matters of common interest.

General

“Difficult circumstances have arisen following SOCOG's marketing campaign," Professor Pels said.

"I believe that the prompt adoption by SOCOG's Board of the proposals to provide a more consumer-friendly outcome means that a significant number of consumer concerns about the ticketing process will be resolved. In addition,

the future promotion of the Games is less likely to cause such concerns".

As well, the action will help restore a positive image for the Australian Olympic Games effort.

"The ACCC will be liaising with SOCOG to ensure the successful implementation of these Initiatives," he said.

Further information Professor Allan Pels, Chairman, pager (016) 373 536 Ms Lin Enright, Director, Public Relations, (02) 6243 1108 or (0414) 613 520 MR 209/99 29 October 1999

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JOINT SOCOG-ACCC TICKETING INITIATIVES

1. SOCOG has worked today with the ACCC and has agreed with the ACCC upon initiatives to resolve concerns about ticketing.

2. SOCOG will write to customers who secured a “second alternative choice ticket" (i.e. their third choice) and offer a refund for that ticket or for the amount to be credited to their account. Letters to this effect will be sent out in the next two weeks. Customers must respond to the letter by midnight on

1 December 1999 if they want a refund or credit.

3. SOCOG will also write to those customers who secured no tickets in the first round and have not applied for a ticket in the second round (which closed on 22 October 1999) but have been allocated a souvenir program and offer a refund for that program should they now not wish to receive one. Letters to this effect will also be sent out in the next two weeks. Customers must respond to the letter by midnight on 1 December 1999 if they want the refund.

A similar process will be put in place for those customers who have applied for tickets in the second round or those who have sought a refund for a "second alternative choice ticket" (as per 2 above) and end up in either case with only a souvenir program.

4. SOCOG will establish a complaints handling and resolution mechanism led by an Independent person with appropriate experience to ensure that these second alternative choice ticket and official souvenir program refund processes proceeds smoothly.

5. ACCC and SOCOG think it is important to clarify that refunds are being processed and dispatched at the following times:

• People who requested a refund of the remaining balance after the first public ballot: by Tuesday 2 November 1999 for approximately 90 per cent of them and for the balance of them over the following five working days provided SOCOG has adequate information from the applicant that allows it to Identify them;

• People who chose additional tickets in the second round and have credit remaining: by 30 November 1999;

• People who request a refund on the "second alternative choice ticket offer" (as per 2 above): by 15 December 1999; • People who make no request for a refund by for whom a balance remains: by 15 December 1999.

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6. SOCOG will ensure that trained people are available at the SOCOG call centre to handle any enquiries.

7. SOCOG will not proceed with the next release of tickets, previously planned for November 999. SOCOG would expect to make an announcement regarding the timing and process for further offers in mid-December 1999. People on SOCOG's registration of interest list will be sent a letter regarding this at that time.

8. SOCOG will develop in consultation with the ACCC consumer protection principles for fu r th e r SOCOG ticketing offers and promotional material.

9. An independent consumer protection advisory committee will be established to monitor compliance with these principles and to report to the SOCOG board on compliance with these principles.

10. SOCOG will make these reports publicly available.

11. SOCOG will report to the ACCC at times to be agreed on progress with these initiatives.

12. If the ACCC receives complaints they will be referred to SOCOG at first Instance. SOCOG will address these complaints.

13. SOCOG and the ACCC will periodically consult with each other to address issues that may have arisen or public matters of common interest.

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