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'Misled' Australian basketball fans to get refunds for USA games

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Sydney (AFP)

A sports promoter has promised to refund fans left disappointed by poor views and a lack of big-name NBA stars, such as LeBron James, at two Australia v USA basketball matches last year.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said TEG Live would refund Aus$5 million (US$3 million) to about 5,000 people who bought 20,000 tickets to the games in Sydney and Melbourne in August.

The ACCC found the promoter had made "false or misleading claims" about the views fans would have of the court and which USA stars would be playing.

"In our view, TEG Live's conduct was unacceptable, and we are pleased around 5,000 consumers will receive automatic refunds," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

TEG Live advertised the games using an image of an American basketball stadium showing floor-level seats as tiered, which was not the case in Melbourne.

Many of the premium seats -- which cost between $895 and $3,995 -- had obstructed views of the court.

Advertising also suggested top NBA stars such as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar James and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets would be playing in the exhibition games, when the promoter had not confirmed their appearance.

"In the end, only four players from the 35-man squad -- Harrison Barnes, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Myles Turner -- played in the games," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

"We are concerned consumers may have purchased tickets believing many of these advertised high profile players would be playing when, in the end, this was not the case."

The ACCC said affected ticket-holders would be refunded by July.

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