Viagogo is being investigated for misleading ticket pricing and continuing to break advertising rules, a regulator says.
The secondary ticketing site was reprimanded in March by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for ‘drip pricing’ – where VAT, booking and delivery fees were added at the end of the booking process.
Viagogo assured the ASA it would make compulsory fees clear by Sunday 26 May.
- Read more: Viagogo threatened with court action
- Read more: One in four tickets touted on resale sites
But the ASA says that the Viagogo website continues to include misleading pricing information.
Speaking about the revelations, digital minister Margot James told BBC Radio 5 live that if fans had to use a secondary site to buy tickets, ‘don’t choose Viagogo – they are the worst’.
The ASA has now referred the ticket re-seller to National Trading Standards, which said it will look at all legal options to bring them ‘into compliance with the law’.
It has the power to prosecute firms for breaching ASA rulings and can enforce punishments such as fines, or even close offending companies.
Viagogo given a clear warning
ASA chief executive, Guy Parker said: ‘Viagogo was given clear warning and handed the opportunity to play fair with consumers by removing misleading pricing information from its website; its failure to do so means it will now face the consequences.
‘Where an advertiser or business is unwilling or unable to follow the advertising rules, we will act. In light of Viagogo’s inability to get its house in order, we’re referring it to National Trading Standards to consider appropriate action.’
On Wednesday, Which? attempted to buy a ticket to a Roger Waters concert for £114 on Viagogo, and the extra prices were not included in the total cost.
StubHub, Seatwave and GetMeIn were also included in the ASA action in March regarding ‘misleading’ pricing, but they made commitments to make sure customers were given clearer information. They were compliant when Which? checked on Wednesday.
Secondary ticketing sites play fast and loose with the rules
Which? managing director of home products and services, Alex Neill, said: ‘We have repeatedly exposed secondary ticketing websites, including Viagogo, for playing fast and loose with the rules, so it’s absolutely right that the ASA has stepped in to ensure people aren’t getting a raw deal.
‘Sharp practices must be clamped down on, particularly when people are increasingly finding that they have to buy tickets through secondary sites.’
- Read our step-by-step guide with top tips to protect yourself from dodgy ticket selling online.
Almost £70 added in extra fees to see Ed Sheeran
The regulator launched a formal investigation after it received 23 complaints about Viagogo’s pricing of tickets to an Ed Sheeran concert.
The site had advertised seats at £90 each, but when customers went to buy two tickets totalling £180, at the final point of checking out, £69.95 was added to the cost in delivery, VAT and booking fees.
The ASA told Viagogo to make the total ticket price clear from the outset and banned it from using the terms ‘official site’ and ‘100% guaranteed’ on the tickets it lists. Both terms suggest it’s an official primary ticketing agent, not a secondary marketplace.
An investigation into secondary ticketing sites that Which? conducted last year found Viagogo charged up to 34% in fees – and failed to show the full VAT-inclusive price until we clicked through to add payment details.
Be careful buying tickets online
Buying tickets online can sometimes be tricky – especially if it isn’t clear whether or not the ticket seller is official or if tickets fail to turn up in time for event.
If you’re thinking about buying from unauthorised ticket sellers for an event, our guides can help you spot whether a ticket seller is official and tell you what to do if things go wrong.