A Whangarei doctor has accused Rugby World Cup organisers of failing to inform the public about a bogus website, claiming to be selling match tickets, that scammed him of $900.
But organisers say there is little they can do about bogus websites as the people behind them move from country to country, making it difficult to track them down.
Radiologist Dr Murray Pachal used his credit card to buy four tickets in May 2010 for the two Whangarei matches during the tournament in September but this week found out when he went to pick them up that he'd been scammed.
He paid $900 through worldcup2011.com, which he said looked authentic and even offered hospitality packages.
"The most disturbing thing for me is that the Rugby World Cup people knew about this website for a few months but didn't let people know that it was a bogus website," Dr Pachal said. "Quite clearly my money is gone and the reason I am doing this [speaking out] is to warn others.
"You imagine someone in, say, Edinburgh takes time off work, buys tickets through this website and comes all the way to New Zealand but couldn't watch the games.
"Those running the website have got all those credit card details from others like me so the whole thing creates a potential liability, not to mention putting New Zealand's reputation at stake," he said.
He learnt of the bogus website through a flyer in his letterbox.
Dr Pachal said there also was a lack of publicity on both genuine and bogus websites that offered tickets and other packages.
Rugby World Cup general manager Ross Young said all major sporting organisations had struggled for years to stop bogus ticketing agents, who generally operated from far-flung places such as the Bahamas and in Dr Pachal's case, Norway.
"The law says that action has to be taken in jurisdictions where they exist and as you get close to them in one area, they move away and set up in some remote places," Mr Young said.
He said tournament organisers conducted extensive marketing campaigns to inform people to only search for information on rugbyworldcup.com.
Mr Young believed only five or six others had been scammed by the site, in New Zealand and overseas.
The only reason worldcup2011.com lasted was that people behind the bogus website managed to secure tickets - albeit late and at grossly inflated prices- for purchasers, he said.
Mr Young said bogus ticket agents would normally try places such as eBay but the tickets might be substandard.
Tickets for the final on the official site are priced up to $1250. But on the unofficial site, those same tickets sell for nearly $3200.