New Zealand and its privileged Covid-19 status is capturing the attention of ticket resale websites like Viagogo, with ticket scalping issues especially rife.
The Switzerland-based company is leading a pack of numerous worldwide ticket resale sites who are taking advantage of the country's resurging events scene.
Over the past week alone there has been a huge surge in tickets purchased and then resold at extortionate prices, said New Zealand ticketing company iTicket.
"We have seen an increase in complaints and customers being ripped off to the tune of hundreds of dollars each by Viagogo," says director Reece Preston of iTicket.
"Unfortunately it seems as if Viagogo has now caught on to the fact that we are one of the few countries in the world holding events of scale."
Scalpers using Viagogo have been selling tickets for the Great Moscow Circus, which is currently touring the North Island, at more than twice the official price.
Over the past few days overseas credit card purchasers who are attempting to buy the tickets have been blocked said iTicket, the official ticket seller for the circus.
Preston claims these purchasers are agents of Viagogo and not genuine customers wanting to resell tickets.
"We can tell this as they are all non-NZ based, and given the current situation with international travel, it would be impossible for someone in the Ukraine, London or Germany to attend the circus in Whangarei this week."
The Commerce Commission is warning Kiwis to stay away from ticket resale websites.
Unfortunately, it isn't easy putting a stop to the morally questionable practice and combating the issue comes down to ticket-buyers simply minimising their own risk.
There is no law in New Zealand that prevents tickets being resold for a higher price than the original sale price of the ticket, unless the event is covered by the Major Events Management Act 2007 (eg. The Rugby World Cup), said a representative from the Commerce Commission.
Buying tickets that are significantly more expensive aren't the only risks that buyers should consider.
"The ticket you purchase could be fake, you might never receive the ticket or the ticket might not have the features you thought you were purchasing. For example, specific location in the venue, premium add-ons or wheelchair access," he said.
Currently the government is trying to put an end to ticket scalping.
In March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that there will be measures put in place, which will include a price cap on resale tickets, enforcing rules around information that needs to be disclosed to better inform consumers, and banning ticket-buying 'bots'.
However, there has been no resolution on the matter just yet.
In order to minimise risk, online safety organisation Netsafe suggests visiting the official ticketing agent's website to ensure that there are no restrictions on the on-sale of tickets.
"If you're using a trading site, check the seller feedback if possible. Use platforms and payment options that offer protection for buyers if a sale goes wrong and don't pay outside of the platform you're using," said Angela Boundy at Netsafe.
"Make sure you are visiting the official ticket seller's site and don't just assume the first web search result that comes up is the official site. This is because some resale sites, like Viagogo, use advertisements on Google to appear at the top of the advertised search results," said a representative from the Commerce Commission.
"One way you can ensure you have the official site is to visit the artist or event's official website and follow the links from there."
Marie Weber, director of Weber Brothers, the company touring The Great Moscow Circus says "It is extremely frustrating that this highly unethical practice can't be stopped in New Zealand."
"We set our circus ticket prices to be as affordable as possible, so to see Kiwi families paying three to four times as much as they should is very upsetting for everyone."
"It is decent, hard-working New Zealanders who are getting ripped off, with the huge markup ending up in Viagogo's coffers. If this is not a sophisticated international ticketing scam, then I don't know what is."