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UPDATE: NSW Fair Trading Is Working With Ticketek To Resolve Post-Parade Party ‘Concerns’

The NSW Fair Trading Commission says it will investigate if the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) breached Australian Consumer Law by misleading ticket purchasers.

The investigation comes days after thousands of Mardi Gras revellers were left out in the dark to the organisation’s post-parade party, despite having paid up to $270 for a ticket to attend the event.

The SGLMG sold 10,000 tickets to the party, which boasted of international headlines like Sam Smith and Kesha, hosted at the Hordern Pavilion in Moore Parks Entertainment Quarters, despite the venue’s full capacity of 5,500.

Crowds gather for the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Saturday, February 29, 2020. (AAP Image/Paul Braven) 

Fair Trading Commissioner, Rose Webb, has revealed she will investigate if consumers were misled.

‘We are still looking into the circumstances of what happened… It’s one of those ones where you go, “Should they have only sold 5000 tickets because that’s what the Hordern Pavilion can take?”,’ Webb told the Nine newspapers.

‘At the moment it’s a bit hard to say categorically they’ve broken the law.’

Webb said the case would depend on ‘how fine the fine print was’ and if a reasonable person could have known their ticket didn’t guarantee seeing the main acts.

Rose Webb, NSW Building Commissioner Deputy Secretary, Better Regulation Division and NSW Fair Trading Commissioner. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) 

She said it was a matter of if the company made it clear enough to consumers before they purchased the ticket.

On Sunday, the SGLMG released a statement apologising for ‘long wait lines’ and said the organisation had ‘received valuable feedback’ on the event.

When asked if the organisation would issue refunds to ticket holders who did not gain access, media spokesperson for SGLMG, Matt Fraser, said it hadn’t been discussed.

‘We don’t have any comment on this at the moment… I haven’t spoken to [the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras] in relation to a refund at this point,’ Fraser told ChannelNews.

However, a spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading said it is currently working with Ticketek to address the concerns surrounding the event.

‘Fair Trading are proactively working with Ticketek and the event host in relation to the concerns raised. Fair Trading’s advice to customers who were dissatisfied with the event is to contact Ticketek to try and resolve the matter in the first instance,’ the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also revealed that the regulator had received 10 or more complaints about the SGLMG post-parade event.

‘NSW Fair Trading generally does not provide statistical information on individual traders or products. However, the NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register does provide information about businesses that are the subject of 10 or more complaints to Fair Trading in a calendar month.

‘NSW Fair Trading provides ongoing case management for ticketing agencies as part of the Better Trader Program to help improve outcomes for consumers engaging with the event industry. Customers who are unable to resolve their issues with Ticketek can lodge a complaint with Fair Trading at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

‘Customers unable to achieve a resolution who have paid by credit or debit card can also contact their credit provider and make enquiries about applying for a credit card chargeback. A time limit for chargebacks may apply.’

ChannelNews also put a series of questions to the NSW Fair Trading body asking if refunds would be enforced and if they would strengthen advertising laws to prevent this happening in the future.

NSW Fair Trading have failed to provide a response to these questions.

Early morning revellers seen on Oxford Street following the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) 

According to NSW Fair Trading website, all consumers are entitled to the full purpose of purchased tickets and may be entitled to a refund.

‘You are entitled to an appropriate remedy from the business when the product or service you purchased does not meet one or more of the consumer guarantees,’ the website states.

‘This might be a refund, a further service to rectify the problem and in some cases, reimbursement for damages and consequential loss.’

Clover Moore taking part in the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Saturday, February 29, 2020. (AAP Image/James Gourley) 

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