The website bookriogames2016.com seems to have figured out how to outrank authorised sites like CoSport in Google searches, but it may be setting ticket buyers up for a rude shock upon arrival in Rio. (cosport.com.au is the only authorised ticker seller in Australia.)
According to Rio Olympics 2016 rules, Olympics-goers won't be let in if they show up with tickets purchased from unofficial sites. Tickets are non-transferable – they can only be used by the people who bought them or by their friends, colleagues and family.The long and short of it is that buying from an unauthorised seller or reseller is a risky move.
The evidence against bookriogames2016.com is fairly damning, finds Which?. For starters, it's registered to a proxy address that has been linked to scams in the past. Plus it's not on the list of authorised ticket sources or resellers, which may explain why it's offering ticket deals in breach of Rio 2016's rules, such as lots of 20 instead of the official limit of four.
Bookriogames2016.com, which lists no physical address, did not respond to emails or phone calls from Which? and has since removed the phone contact number from the site.
Like many questionable sites, it has all of the trappings of a real one, with fonts and graphics that look a lot like those on official Rio Olympics ticket sites. But its terms and conditions may be a giveaway. The fine print says the website "reserves the right to deliver tickets at any point between the time of purchase and the day of the event", which could mean travelling to Rio without a ticket in hand and remaining empty-handed once you get there.
The website gives itself five stars for customer satisfaction, but there's no evidence of online reviews to back this up.
"Adding insult to injury, the unauthorised tickets also come with a price premium. Purchasing Category A tickets to the Opening Ceremony through the official Rio Olympic site costs $1882.21, compared to $2891.64 through the unauthorised seller," says CHOICE head of media Tom Godfrey.
"Paying a 54% price premium to purchase a ticket through an unauthorised re-seller that could be disqualified outside the Olympic stadium just isn't worth it."
Is the site legit?
Dodgy websites are nothing new, and they often have telltale signs. Here are a few things to check:
- Beware of websites that end in .net or .org – these are rarely used for online shopping.
- Does it have a "contact us" page? If not, it could well be fraudulent.
- All websites should list a place of business and include a phone number and email address.
- Always pay by credit card to retain your charge-back rights – never by bank transfer.