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NSW Fair Trading Confirms Complaints Received Over Mardi Gras Post-Parade Party

The NSW Fair Trading Commission has confirmed it has received complaints from consumers in relation to the Mardi Gras post-parade party that locked out thousands of paid ticket holders.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) sold around 10,000 tickets to the post-parade party, hosted at the Hordern Pavilion that has a capacity limit of 5,500.

Party-goers paid up to $270 for a ticket to the exclusive after party, which boasted of international headline performances such as Sam Smith and Kesha. But hundreds were left out in the dark after the event reached full capacity before headline acts started.

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

A NSW Fair Trading spokesperson told ChannelNews 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,’ the spokesperson said.

‘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.’

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

It comes a day after Fair Trading Commissioner, Rose Webb, told the Nine papers she would be looking into whether the SGLMG mislead consumers by overselling tickets.

‘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 said.

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

The case, according to Webb, relies on ‘how fine the fine print was’ and if a reasonable person could have known their ticket didn’t guarantee seeing the main acts.

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

Participants take part in the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Saturday, February 29, 2020. (AAP Image/Steven Saphore) 

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.

The company told ChannelNews they were still in the process of receiving feedback on the event before they made any further comment today.

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.’

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) 

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