Viagogo faces court for breaching consumer laws

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Secondary ticketing site Viagogo has been threatened with legal action by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) if it fails to comply with demands to provide clearer information to consumers about the tickets it sells.

While three of the UK’s biggest secondary ticketing sites – StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave – have committed to make ‘significant changes’, Viagogo has refused to follow the government department’s recommendations.

These include notifying ticket buyers if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door, making the identity of the person selling the ticket clear, and providing ticket information such as seat number and location within the venue.

In a statement, the CMA’s executive director for enforcement Michael Grenfell said: ‘All secondary ticketing websites must play by the rules and treat their customers fairly if anything goes wrong. We take failure to comply with consumer protection law very seriously. So far, Viagogo has failed to address our concerns, and we are determined to ensure they comply with the law.’

He added that the CMA is ‘prepared to use the full range of our powers to protect customers – including action through the courts.’

The CMA launched an investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary tickets market in 2016, amid concerns that industrial scale touting and ‘bot technology’ was distorting the live music industry.

Earlier this year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned Viagogo from naming itself as an ‘official site’ which was found to misleadingly imply that it was ‘an official primary ticket outlet rather than a second-hand ticket website.’

It was also banned from making the claim ‘100% Guarantee’, following an investigation of an ad which suggested that consumers who bought Viagogo tickets would be guaranteed entry into an Ed Sheeran concert, ‘when that was not the case’.

Meanwhile, a new law being laid out in parliament this week proposes an unlimited fine to ticket touts who use automated software to bulk buy tickets for resale on secondary ticketing sites.

 

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