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Olympic organizers sue Winnipeg travel company to stop black-market ticket sales

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Organizers of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are suing a Winnipeg-based travel company in an effort to stop black-market ticket sales for the Games.

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Organizers of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are suing a Winnipeg-based travel company in an effort to stop black-market ticket sales for the Games.

Games organizers say Roadtrips and its president, David Guenther, are offering tours that include tickets to the Games that they don't have a legal right to sell.

They "have engaged in materially false, deceptive and misleading advertising, acts and practices," said the suit.

The organizers filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this month saying anyone who buys the tickets could find themselves turned away at the event gate, as Olympic organizers reserve the right to void tickets that have been improperly sold.

"There is a real and substantial risk that Roadtrips will not be able to deliver tickets to its customers and that any such tickets presented by Roadtrips' customers at 2010 Winter Games events will be cancelled, invalidated and seized by VANOC," says the suit filed May 11.

Roadtrips sells sports travel packages to events such as soccer's World Cup, the Summer and Winter Olympics and many other prominent sporting events.

Its website claims it can offer tickets to every 2010 event, including the opening and closing ceremonies.

Four-night packages for Games events in Vancouver - including tickets to two events - start at $4,675 for Vancouver and $8,650 for Whistler.

The lawsuit claims it has repeatedly asked Roadtrips to stop offering the packages.

The suit doesn't say directly where Roadtrips' tickets are coming from. However, it goes into detail about national Olympic committees and their obligations.

National Olympic committees from around the world are offered blocks of tickets to be sold only in their territories and only to people specified by the International Olympic committee.

The Vancouver committee has said in the past it plans a crackdown on sponsors and national Olympic committees which are believed to supply most of the tickets on the broker market.

Roadtrips faced a similar suit over its sale of tickets to the Beijing Summer Games in 2008, but the company has said the case was dismissed.

In Beijing, hundreds of people who bought tickets from brokers showed up in China only to find out their tickets were invalid.

The suit asks the court to force Roadtrips to disclose where it is getting its tickets from and to say who the company has so-far sold tickets to.

"The defendants have made and will continue to make a profit and VANOC has suffered and will continue to suffer loss, damage and expense," the suit says.

The Vancouver committee filed a similar suit against Vancouver-based Coast2Coast Tickets in March.

 
 
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