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Viagogo taken to court over secondary ticketing rights

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says Viagogo needs to be brought in line with the law and has launched proceedings in the High Court.

Viagogo is being taken to court for allegedly misleading customers over the true cost of resale tickets, the position of seats at events and not explaining the risk of being turned away at the door.

After investigating the secondary ticketing sector, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began enforcement action against four major secondary ticketing websites in November 2017, warning the sites to overhaul how they did business and respect the law.

StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave all offered formal commitments in April to overhaul the way they do business.

CMA concerns with Viagogo practices

However, the CMA said Viagogo has not offered to make the changes. The CMA is concerned Viagogo is breaking consumer protection law by:

  • Not telling customers there’s a risk of being turned away from the venue
  • Not telling customers which seat they’ll be sitting in
  • Not telling customers who’s selling the ticket – if it’s a business selling a ticket, the customer has enhanced rights
  • Having misleading information about how in-demand tickets are, rushing customers into a decision
  • Making it difficult for customers to get their money back when something goes wrong
  • Offering tickets which a seller might not own

The CMA has now launched formal proceedings against Viagogo in the High Court.

It is also seeking an interim enforcement order. If it’s granted, it will stop some of Viagogo’s practices until the trial is held.

You have fewer rights if you buy from a secondary ticket seller, but there are often consumer protection guarantees in place.

Secondary ticketing sites need to respect the law

Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: ‘It’s absolutely right that strong action is taken against Viagogo – a rogue operator we have repeatedly exposed for flouting consumer law and exploiting music and sports fans.

‘What we want now is for the company to finally respect the law and their customers, and to overhaul their practices as some other secondary ticketing sites have already committed to doing.’

CMA chief executive officer Andrea Coscelli said: ‘People who buy tickets on websites like Viagogo must be given all the information they are entitled to.

‘It’s imperative they know key facts, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event, before parting with their hard-earned money.

‘This applies to Viagogo as much as it does to any other secondary ticketing website.

‘Unfortunately, while other businesses have agreed to overhaul their sites to ensure they respect the law, viagogo has not.

‘We will now be pursuing action through the courts to ensure that they comply with the law.’

Read more: the ASA cracks down on Viagogo

Secondary ticketing sites investigated

In April, the government introduced new secondary ticketing rules with the aim of better protecting fans from rip-off prices. They meant ticket resellers had to:

  • Quote the unique ticketing number
  • Identify where the ticket gives access to
  • Disclose any restrictions around who can use the ticket or how it must be used (eg alongside ID of the original buyer)
  • Disclose the original price of the ticket
  • Reveal the details of connections they have with either the online facility on which they are selling or the organiser of the event for which the ticket is being sold

We have a free guide about how to protect yourself from dodgy ticketing selling online and how to claim your money back if it goes wrong.

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