/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Who’s confused by the Olympic ticket reselling process? Me!

Got unwanted Olympic tickets? Want to have another go at buying some? Well the official Olympic ticket resale programme launched today. The question is; do you know how the process works? Our survey says ‘no’.

It’s 2012. The year of the London Olympic Games. Are you excited?

I’m not, as I don’t have any tickets (despite living a couple of tube stops from the Olympic village). Anyway, there’s good reason to put my bitterness aside – I may have a chance to buy someone else’s rejected tickets.

Confusion over Olympic reselling

If you were awarded a whole bunch of tickets for events you weren’t hugely interested in, or you’ve now decided to escape the country, you can resell them from today.

How? Through the official Olympic website, and only through this site. Ebay, or any other method of reselling, is strictly off-limits – otherwise say hello to a maximum fine of £20,000.

The official reselling programme will be open on the Olympic website until 3 February, so the race is on. But do you know how the whole process will work?

Worryingly, our survey of 1,250 Brits found that most don’t. Only 16% of those asked understood (fully or mostly) how the Olympic ticket resale will work. And of those who said they were likely to buy or sell tickets in this round, an understanding of the process was higher, but it was still a pretty lowly 34%.

Olympic site isn’t very clear

From a cursory read of the resale information page on the Olympic site, I’m not surprised people are scratching their heads over how it works. On a simple level it will go something like this: you’ll tick the tickets you want to put up for sale from your online account, and wait for someone to buy them. Simple, right?

Not quite. I’ve already picked out a contradiction on this page. When you put your tickets up for resale the site makes it clear that this ‘does not guarantee that any or all of the tickets you submit for resale will be resold’. However, it then goes on to state that ‘once you have submitted your selection of tickets for resale, your tickets will become void’.

If I’m reading this right, as soon as you put your tickets up for resale those tickets will then be void. That’s even before the tickets have been successfully re-bought, which as was said before, isn’t guaranteed.

The word ‘void’ certainly sounds final, so what happens to that unsold ticket? Apparently it will be ‘un-voided’, but the wording on the site certainly doesn’t make this clear.

So, I have two questions for you – are you going to try to buy or sell Olympic tickets? And if you are, have you got the foggiest about how the reselling process works? We’ll be busy testing the site tomorrow, selling and buying, so we’ll let you know how we get on.


2012 homepage has the banner “The greatest tickets on earth”

The ticketing system? Um….not so much!

Liz T says:
6 January 2012

Update on my comment of 10.25am. I have now received a confirmation e-mail that my tickets are available for re-sale. Over 12 hours after I pressed the button to sell them but better late than never!
Hope someone out there wants them as I am seriously disillusioned with the olympic experience so far.

Yeah, but if you don’t notice the message on the right hand side – and it’s hardly in big bold letters or highlighted – you could still waste your time trying as the search facility has not been disabled. Why don’t they just put a big message on it until it’s fixed properly!? Meanwhile, people have to keep on checking…

Yesterday I posted a comment about the fact that as well as messing up the re-sales process, LOCOG seems not to want to do anything for the 15,000 people who were sold Second Ballot tickets last June, only to be advised by email a few days later that those tickets had never existed after all.

Well, today – out of the blue – I received an email about it. Shame that it wasn’t particularly helpful:

“I’m sorry for the delay in response. We are looking in to your query and we will be back in touch shortly. We hope this information has been useful. Please get in touch if you have any further questions.”

Anyone else here among those 15,000 ‘phantom ticket’ victims?

john says:
10 January 2012

I’m one of the 15,000 ‘phantom ticket’ victims and I’m not convinced LOCOG will do anything to help.

Emma says:
11 January 2012

This may have been mentioned already but i’ve not managed to read through all the comments. I have too many football semi final tickets that i am looking to re sell. If i put them on the system i’ve read the comment about them becomming void. Does this mean that I chance selling them but if i don’t then I lose my money and don’t even get them back?

The fact that the olympic site doesn’t have a questions and comment section is ridiculous (well apart from the pointless FAQ’s!!)


Further to my earlier posts about the 15,000 people who were sold non-existent tickets on the second ballot, I have received a further email from London 2012. They say:

“As we get closer to the Games, the seating configurations are finalised, allocations confirmed and a final ticket inventory reconciled. In addition, we hold contingency tickets for unforeseen circumstances, and it is these tickets which we are offering to synchronised swimming customers.”

They also go on to say:

“Over a million new tickets will be offered to the British public this spring from contingency seats. Our aim is to get as many of these tickets as possible into the hands of customers who have not been successful in obtaining tickets to the Games so far.”

However, they AGAIN stop short of outlining precisely what they plan to do for the 15,000. Given that the second ballot only existed as a means of allowing unsuccessful first ballot applicants to be at the front of the queue when additional tickets became available, it is surely fair that those 10% who were told they had tickets, only to be told later that a foul-up by Ticketmaster meant they had no such thing, should still somehow have preferential access to the contingency seats. However, it currently appears that we simply have to take our chances, along with everyone else – which doesn’t seem at all fair or reasonable.

John says:
17 January 2012

Thanks for the update.

I fear you are correct in your final paragraph – certainly not fair or reasonable!

News at last: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16590500

So now people list tickets to sell at this stage then they get sold in April sometime. Not sure what date. Makes much more sense!!

New system means people with unwanted tickets can sell them back at face value from 3pm today until 6pm on 6th Feb. now. These tickets will be made available to the general public in April.

Details of the conditions of the April sell to be revealed later.

Liz T says:
20 January 2012

Update on my earlier comment about problems putting my olympic football tickets up for sale.
My tickets have been bought back by LOCOG and the money has been credited to my Visa account. So all’s well in the end.
If it had been done this way from the start it would have been much less fraught for buyers and sellers. Hope someone buys the tickets when they are resold in April and has a great time!

I’ve just read that there are still Olympic tickets available, although only for football.

Yes – loads for football apparently because supporters are waiting to see the draw before buying. There will be an unknown number of tickets available in April following the sale back scheme, plus any others that might be unsold. London2012 say priority will be given to those with no tickets but I’ve no details of how (or if!) that will work.

This ticket resale is a complete shambles. The website doesn’t function properly, there’s nothing on the website to help or advise on this problem, and you can’t get through to an advisor (it just says they’re busy and cuts you off!).

I search for the event I want, select the ticket band I want and the number of tickets, and then select Add to Shopping List. It tries then to redirect to the Shopping List (Cart) page but instead redirects to “My Account”. There’s no way of going to the Shopping List for you to actually request the tickets. What is that supposed to mean?!? Any clues anyone?

Seems to me that the London 2012 Ticketing Website just doesn’t work properly and has a glitch.

kenorb says:
16 May 2012

The same problem here, my friend has the same problem.
Clicking ‘Add to Shopping List.’ and the cart is empty, rubbish!

I think it means you aren’t entitled to buy them. On the BBC site last week it said that you could buy them if you “were unsuccessful in the first ballot” – great, I thought! But when I tried at 11am on Mon this week, the locog home page said you could only buy them if you “were unsuccessful in the first ballot AND did not apply in the second”! Hence I couldn’t buy any as I got one ticket in the second, from the limited choice that was available at that time. Sort of wish I hadn’t now and I would have had a greater choice this time.. I doubt there will be anything left by next week when they go to general sale, so I think I will have to be happy with my one!

LOCOG has been doing this in stages, depending on varying degrees of eligibility. The sale that started on Friday was exclusively for about 15,000 people (including me) who had:

1) Applied unsuccessfully in the first ballot;
2) Tried to buy tickets in the second ballot;
3) Initially been told that we had bought them; but then
4) Received emails a few days later saying that we hadn’t, because Ticketmaster had screwed up.

There may then have been another tranche of eligibility – perhaps for people who tried in the first ballot but didn’t bother in the second, I don’t really know – before tickets go on general sale. But I think that if you hold any tickets AT ALL – even a single one for a rubbish event – there’s no option but to wait and see what happens next.


The process have been a complete muddle. A ‘pre-sale’ process began on the 11th May for those who were unsuccessful in both the first ballot and the second chance ballot (plus those effected by various mistakes).

This was followed by a 5-day sale from 13th to 17th May for those who missed out on the first ballot but did not try in the second. On each of these days tickets are/were available for specific events (eg. Tennis tickets on the 13th). Maybe this is why some of the problems mentioned above occurred because people were trying to but tickets on the wrong day?

Any unsold tickets will be offered in a general sale from 23rd May. Really straightforward!

I was fortunate to get tickets in the first ballot although not the ones I really wanted. Now I have to wait until the 23rd by which time I doubt there will be anything left. So I may have been better off getting nothing first time around.

I’ve not found any other country using the UK process. They are all using a first come first served process. Had the first stage applied restrictions on the number of tickets each person could buy it may have worked out fairer. But as I say, I was fortunate to get some tickets whereas many have received nothing.

And I’m not going to expand on the vast number of corporate tickets protected for top events, or the hotel deals that are a complete rip-off.

Laura B says:
16 May 2012

Well, somehow I managed to click on the wrong event and actually bought tickets today for a date when I can’t go. I don’t know quite how this happened. I tried to click cancel as it was processing but the transaction did not cancel so I now have 4 tickets that are useless to me. What’s more as I couldn’t cancel the transaction I now have tickets in my account so couldn’t go on to try and buy the ones I actually wanted.

I can’t find out if I can re sell them as the site says this option is not available at the moment (will it be later???) Really I would like to swap them but of course there is no scheme for this. I have 4 tickets 2 adult and 2 child one age 3 and one aged 7 to see rhythmic gymnastics. I do not know any friends or family who would be able to use this exact configuration of tickets…..can children’s ages be altered?

SO annoyed as I still can’t take my kids to the olympics and apparently can’t even pass on tickets to someone who could.

STUPID system!

dobro says:
26 May 2012

Similar problem, anyone knows if there is going to be a new chance to resale the ticket that we no longer want?

The site states that another re-sale will take place ‘late spring’. I don’t know any details.

Dobro says:
27 May 2012

I found out that there is supposed to be another resale in the Summer. It is in the “help sections”, just typing the word “resale”:

“The first resale opportunity has now closed. There will be a further opportunity to submit your tickets for resale in the Summer.”

Jaded says:
29 May 2012

According to Mr Tim Abraham, Ticketing Customer Service Executive, there has been very little problem with the return/resale of Olympic tickets.
“We acknowledged the problem with the resale site when it originally opened in January. We took the site down for a few days and reopened it with the guarantee anyone submitting their tickets would be reimbursed in full. This, and the dates, were well publicised in the press and on the website. Tickets submitted during this period were not printed and not posted out.”

I woul beg to differ on every aspect of this, we have been unable to return our tickets despite trying repeatedly over the last 5 months. He goes on to say:

“Our first priority was to sell tickets to people who wanted to buy them and each of our sales phases have concentrated on getting as many tickets as possible into the hands of people looking to buy tickets. Our next priority is to help those who can no longer use the tickets that they applied for by reopening ticket resale. We are confident with the process that will be re-launched very soon.”

Well, unfortunately they have now posted out thousands of tickets so if you want and have been trying to return them, their basic oppinion is TOUGH YOU CAN’T! ! !

It’s pointless the website saying you will be able to return/ resell your tickets in Spring 2012 (or Summer 2012 depending on which page within the official Olympic website you look at) if they have already posted them out to you! Good luck trying.

The whole UK ticketing process has been a shambolic mess what with the website crashing, selling tickets that don’t exist, not being able to return tickets you don’t want when other people are desperate to buy them, inaccurate, out of date and inconsistant information on the official Olympic website!

Still, publically the officials are saying it has all been a huge success with only one or 2 minor problem.
And they publicly acknowledge that their 1st priority was to hit revenue targets not to provide CUSTOMER SERVICE OR SATISFACTION!

“Do I think we have delivered the fairest possible system? I absolutely do,” said the Locog deputy chairman, Sir Keith Mills. “We got it about as right as we could. We wanted to hit our revenue targets, we wanted full stadiums and we wanted to treat everyone as equally as we could.”
Source: Owem Gibson, Olympics Editor, Guardian, Wednesday 23rd May 2012.
Additional comment from Mr Tim Abraham, Ticketing Customer Service Executive:
“It is hoped that the majority of people applied for events and sessions they actually wanted to attend. Where they can no longer use their tickets the resale process will help those wanting to sell them and those wanting to buy them. However there is no guarantee that submitted tickets will be resolved.”

Its a huge shame that the whole Uk ticketing process has been so badly managed. Every one within the UK wanted and needs the Olympics to be a huge success but unfortunately we have been very badly let down so far. Lets hope that the actual events are better managed than the ticketing has been!

Marcus says:
29 May 2012

I’ve been told a number of times on the phone by the ticketing team that there will be another opportunity to resell tickets, but still no announcement of a date and no idea how this will work if your tickets have already been posted out.

They also told me I can give my tickets to friends or family so long as I am contactable by phone on the day of the event in case they want to confirm .

Charles Campion says:
1 June 2012

The sale of Olympic tickets would seem to have been poorly managed with a poorly designed web site to match together with poor information & much mis-information.

I did not get the tickets I wanted despite many attempts & much wasted time but I accept that. However, what I find hard to accept is that when the last tickets went on sale friends could see & purchase on their accounts the tickets I wanted whilst at the same time I could not…

History has shown that computer systems are rarely, if ever, perfect & always vulnerable to overloading. Prudence & good management, should have meant that ticket sales & therefore the sites work load was spread out…

Anyway it is too late for any of that now but there are still people without tickets they want, with tickets they do not want & a lot of frustration which seems to have translated into a general loss of appetite for the games in general. Lets just hope it works out OK…

Jag Grewal says:
8 June 2012

There was meant to be a second resale process in Spring – it is also mentioned on the letter with my tickets received this morning and yet there is nothing on the website. I fear many people will be in the position unable to offload tickets to events they now cannot attend (in my case business travel).

Indigo S says:
12 June 2012

Likewise – I have 4 of the best tickets available for the final and victory ceremony of artistic gymnastics on the 5th August but can’t attend and am now unemployed so can’t afford it either. I want to sell them but the site is closed yet its illegal to resell them at face value elsewhere. This is appalling being that when I purchased them the terms and conditions stated their would be opportunity for resale. How can LOCOG sue if they don’t maintain their own terms? Their should be an alternative sale site set up independently as a petition selling tickets at face value.