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eBay hits back after copping massive fine for NRL grand final ticket scalping

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E-commerce giant eBay has hit back after being slapped with $44,000 in fines for having overpriced tickets to Sunday’s sold-out NRL grand final on its platform.

NSW Fair Trading on Friday said it had issued eBay with 40 penalty infringement notices for publishing prohibited advertisements about NRL grand final tickets, in breach of ticket scalping laws.

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Under state laws, companies found breaching ticket reselling laws can be fined up to $110,000, while individuals can be fined up to $22,000.

“To protect consumers, NSW laws require advertisements for the resale of tickets to specify the original cost of the ticket and a resale price that is no more than 10 per cent above the original cost,” Commissioner Natasha Mann said in a statement.

“NSW Fair Trading is actively monitoring other platforms where grand final tickets may be re-sold and will take similar actions where tickets are being sold contrary to NSW laws.”

She said the investigation into eBay was ongoing.

Sunday’s NRL grand final between the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers in Sydney is officially sold-out after the last public allocation of tickets was snapped up on Tuesday.

In a statement, eBay said it “moved swiftly” to remove the illegal listings when alerted by NSW Fair Trading on Thursday.

Grand final coaches Ivan Cleary and Brad Arthur during the NRL’s Fan Fest at Martin Place on Thursday. Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

As of Friday, 48 listings had been removed and monitoring continued, it said.

It criticised Australian regulators for not taking up a 2021 offer allowing authorities access to a portal that could “automatically” remove illicit listings.

“Considering the tools we have available and our willingness to collaborate, it is disappointing that NSW Fair Trading has chosen to issue penalties without providing an opportunity to work together in this instance,” the company said.

“This is not the approach we have experienced in other jurisdictions where we work in partnership with regulators to address ticket scalping.”

Both eBay and NSW Fair Trading urge consumers to avoid buying tickets at inflated prices and to report any illegal ads.

The crackdown comes after the consumer watchdog publicly warned about the risks of ticket scalping at major events such as the NRL grand final.

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Source: 7News