At the end of last week there was a flurry of sales of rugby tickets on the Internet auction site, Ebay. Not a few were for Saturday’s Ireland versus New Zealand match at Lansdowne Road, here in Dublin. At least six tickets that I counted were for the North Terrace.
By Saturday morning, the day of the match, all the tickets had disappeared from the site. I wondered about the North terrace tickets. How many tickets had been withdrawn from sale because it was too late to arrange a rendezvous with a potential buyer and the seller would take their luck with touts outside the ground? How many had been withdrawn from sale because the seller had become aware on Friday evening that a fire at Lansdowne Road had closed the 7,500 capacity North Terrace? And, how many agreements had there been to buy tickets at up to €200 each before buyers were aware of what had occurred?
The Ebay rules state that purchasers enter into a contract to buy if they win the auction. But how many people would go ahead and pay for tickets they know to be useless when they know that the refund is only going to be a fraction of what has been paid?
The ethics of the matter would make an interesting debate. Does the seller offering tickets in good faith have the right to be paid if the tickets were offered for sale and sold prior to the news of the fire? Can anyone offering tickets at above face value be acting in good faith, anyway?
The Biblical standards for dealing are set down in very blunt terms. Christians are to be honest, direct and open. Jesus says, ‘yes’ should be ‘yes’ and ‘no’ should be ‘no’.
In the light of forthright teaching, shouldn’t Christians in their transactions be people who are completely transparent and who act with integrity? Christians should not be people who tout tickets or who buy from touts.
Perhaps, I thought to myself, the answer to the question of the Ebay quandary is that I shouldn’t have been checking prices of tickets in the first place!