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Black Market Trade in Tickets for Euro 2012 in Full Swing

Posted by admin on May 4, 2012 2:25:42 PM

OpSec Security discovers overpriced tickets for the 2012 European football championship as well as counterfeit fan merchandise on the internet and provides tips for consumers on what to look for when buying

Munich, 2 May 2012. In just over one month, on 8 June, the 2012 European football championship kicks off in Poland and Ukraine – an event which is also used by dubious traders for some lucrative business at the fans’ cost. In their current online analysis, the trade mark protection experts at OpSec Security have found countless dodgy auctions in which overpriced tickets for the matches and fake branded shirts are on offer.

Whether it is concerts of popular bands or well-known international sporting events such as the footballing European championships, events of this type are much loved not only by consumers but also by shady traders who try and make some easy money through over inflated prices on the black market for tickets which are in high demand but short supply or through cheaply produced copies of fan merchandise. Now, in the run-up to Euro 2012, suspect offers of overpriced tickets and counterfeit fan items such as branded shirts are also turning up on the Internet. This has been shown in a current online analysis by the company, OpSec Security.

Black market ticket sales – beware of overpriced offers

The sale of Euro 2012 tickets is strictly regulated by UEFA: the purchase of the personalised tickets is only possible via the official ticket shop. Already purchased tickets may only be resold for the face value plus an administration fee but not sold at an extortionate price or auctioned. However, in spite of these rules, tickets can be found on auction sites such as eBay at prices far in excess of the official rates. At the time the random sample was examined by OpSec, there were 166 illegal offers on ebay.de, 176 on ebay.com and 53 on ebay.co.uk. In most of these cases, the tickets were offered at considerably inflated prices, in some cases at almost five times the official price. The experts at OpSec assume that the prices will rise still further in the course of the coming weeks. Particularly striking are offers where traders point out that there are no identification checks in the stadiums. However, buyers should not rely on such information. A particular contradiction and thus a clear indication that an offer is illegal, is where a trader refers in the small print to UEFA’s terms and conditions whilst simultaneously violating them through his inflated prices.

“Not only the fact that the prices are overly high should make customers wary; there is also the risk that they might end up buying fake tickets on public platforms such as eBay. Furthermore, there is a real risk that the customer will never receive the tickets he or she has bought and paid for.” commented Mechthild Imkamp, Marketing Director of OpSec Security. “Anyone wishing to get hold of a ticket for one of the matches through official and therefore legal channels, should enquire in the UEFA ticket shop which reopened at the beginning of May.”

Fake fan merchandise – how to spot illegal copies

Trade in fan items booms especially before major international sporting events. The increased demand, for instance for replica shirts of the participating teams, is also exploited by many manufacturers and sellers of fakes, chasing part of this lucrative business. Such activity was also seen around the football world cup in South Africa in 2010. Due to the trade in counterfeit fan merchandise, the number of seizures by the German border authorities rose considerably in 2010.

An increase in illegal business is also to be expected around the approaching European football championship. This can already be witnessed on the internet. Obtained in large quantities on B2B platforms such as alibaba.com, the fakes are then resold on B2C portals such as eBay. A clear indication of fraudulent activity is where companies on B2B trading sites such as alibaba.com offer every shirt in any quantity depending on the customer’s preferences. OpSec encountered numerous such offers, originating primarily from Asian companies, in the scope of its analysis. Fake shirts are usually not only of an inferior quality but also carry hidden risks to health as they may contain hazardous substances which, for examples, can trigger allergies.

In order to protect consumers from buying fake replica shirts, OpSec has compiled the following list of tips based on the suspect offers it unearthed during its research:

  1. Conspicuously low prices

If the price of a new shirt is considerably lower than that offered by the official manufacturer, there is a high possibility the shirt is a fake – even if the offer otherwise looks impressive. It is therefore advisable to first find out the usual price.

  1. Inconsistent product characteristics

If accompanying images show product characteristics which differ from those of the original – for instance colour differs or logos are missing – one can be reasonably certain that the product is a fake.

  1. The article on offer is not yet officially available

One should be sceptical and cautious if sellers offer products which are not even available yet in the manufacturer’s own official shop. If the price is also very low, one can safely assume the seller is dodgy.

  1. Seller has traded counterfeit goods in the past

Audacious traders on auction platforms who receive too many negative ratings simply create a new identity for themselves under which they continue to sell the same products. If one encounters a seller who has traded fake goods in the past, it is best to avoid buying from them.

“If someone wants to be on the safe side, they should buy a shirt for the European football championship from the official online shop of the manufacturer or from an authorised dealer,” advises Mechthild Imkamp.

About OpSec Security:

OpSec Security GmbH, based in Munich, Germany is part of OpSec Security, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of OpSec Security Group plc (London AIM: OSG). OpSec is the global leader in providing anti-counterfeiting technologies as well as solutions and services for offline and online brand protection to over 300 companies in various industries and over 50 governments worldwide. The OpSec Group operates manufacturing and research facilities in the USA, Great Britain and has sales operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.opsecsecurity.de

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