For the international contemporary live music industry

Court orders ‘rogue operator’ Viagogo to fund reviews of past and future activities

World News
December 4, 2018

UNITED KINGDOM             

Not only must Viagogo appoint and fund an independent entity to monitor its website for the next five years, but it must also pay for a review of all refunds made since January 2016, for irregularities such as under-payments that need to be rectified.

In a High Court of Justice hearing on 27 November, the Swiss-registered resale website was also ordered to comply with a series of other rulings, following legal action brought by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) in August.

If the company fails to comply with the order by mid-January, it could face fines and its executives could receive prison sentences.

Judge Sir Christopher Nugee also ordered Viagogo to comply with a series of other requirements, to avoid further court action.

  • Tell ticket purchasers if they might be refused admission, as a result of tickets being personalised and/or designated as not for resale.
  • Inform customers which seats they will be allocated.
  • Provide information about the ticket seller.
  • Not give misleading information about the availability tickets.
  • Make refunds easier when transactions go wrong.
  • Prevent speculative ticketing, where the seller does not yet own the ticket.

“This court order is a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through Viagogo,” says CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“We have been clear throughout our investigation that people who use these resale websites must know key facts before parting with their hard-earned money,.”

She adds that the company has agreed to a “overhaul of its site” to ensure it is giving customers a “fair deal”.

Long-time anti-touting campaigner Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, says, “I would question whether a company that has created thousands of victims and now requires independent monitoring to ensure it complies with UK legislation, should be allowed to continue to operate given the risk to consumers.”

Adam Webb, campaign manager at artiste manager-funded FanFair Alliance, says, “While the UK’s ticket resale market undergoes a long-awaited transformation, Viagogo has effectively become a rogue operator.

“That it is required a court order to force their compliance with existing legislation is nothing short of extraordinary.”

A Viagogo spokesman says, “We are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement that provides even greater transparency to consumers.”

Organiser of the Victims of Viagogo Facebook group Claire Turnham says she has helped people who have been ripped-off by Viagogo recover more than £800,000 ($1 million) overall to date.

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