‘Ridiculous’: AFL fans furious at Ticketek and scalpers
AFL fans who missed out on the chance to watch Richmond take on Collingwood live at the MCG this Friday have been dealt a double blow, as those same tickets are offered online for the price of a new car.
A buying frenzy followed the release of tickets to the blockbuster preliminary final clash on Monday.
Members snapped up the best seats but many missed out.
Dozens of disappointed diehard fans wrote to news.com.au to express frustration at the online sales process handled by Ticketek.
Those same people were furious again when they saw scalpers trying to make thousands of dollars in profit on the tickets they scalped.
One pair of tickets being offered on eBay attracted bids of $20,100 before the Sports Minister John Eren stepped in and had the ad pulled.
The tickets were for Level 1 at the MCG's Punt Road end.
Vito Bartucca, a Collingwood supporter who was trying to buy tickets for himself and seven members of his family, said the system was "ridiculous".
"Being a Collingwood Legends member for over 20 years, I cannot express how disappointed I am that I am unable to attend Friday night's game," he said.
"It is going to be one of the biggest finals in recent history with two of the biggest supporter bases going head-to-head.
"The AFL and the clubs need to step in here and do something about this. You cannot have loyal club members from both clubs missing out on tickets to people who only want to make a profit. The system they have in place is ridiculous."
He said loyal fans had been showing up every week and "putting their hard-earned money" towards being members of their clubs.
"Without us, the game is pointless," he said.
Mr Eren said the Victorian Government was cracking down on scalpers. It is illegal to sell tickets to events in Victoria for above 10 per cent of the purchase value.
He said dozens of people had been caught trying to profit from AFL finals tickets.
"There is currently 96 investigations that will be ongoing," Mr Eren told 3AW.
"If a breach is found, they can be fined from $800 to $480,000 depending on the severity of the breach of the law."
On Monday, frustrated fans took to social media to air their disappointment after being hit with various messages when finally getting through the online queue and trying to proceed to payment.
Some were met with security messages saying their credit cards had been blocked when there were reportedly no problems with their banks.
One Collingwood member wanted nothing more than to see his beloved Magpies run out on the hallowed turf of the MCG this Friday night.
The 29-year-old diehard fan, who secured tickets to the Pies' first two finals, was trying to purchase four tickets for himself and his mates - all of whom are members.
He went online, waited in the queue and was met with a security message just as he was about to secure four seats in the Ponsford Stand.
"When I went to pay it gave me the card security error message," he told news.com.au.
"I tried to use different cards, got the same message. None of the cards I used have been blocked by the bank at all."
Mr Anthony posted the following message online.
"Four tickets in the Ponsford GONE due to some bullshit error on a card that definitely is NOT BLOCKED and now the game is sold out and I can't go," he wrote on Twitter. "Not happy at all @Ticketek_AU."
The man had volunteered to buy the tickets for the group because he had the morning off work.
"They're not happy either," he said.
A Ticketek spokesman said they had offered the man two tickets to make up for the problem but he did not proceed.
Another woman also posted to Twitter with the same issue.
The spokesman said they had a sophisticated system to detect and prevent suspicious activity involving credit cards.
"There are a variety of reasons for a credit card to be blocked," he said.
"While we cannot comment on individual cases, we stand by the integrity of the detection process as it has operated today."
Richmond and Collingwood members bought 40,000 tickets in less than two hours, with many lining up outside Ticketek headquarters for physical tickets.
Some spent all of Saturday and Sunday night in the cold so as not to miss out.