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Italy fines Viagogo $1.2m and minister wants inquiry in Spain

ITALY/SPAIN -
World News
April 26, 2018
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Controversial secondary ticketing platform Viagogo has been fined €1 million ($1.2m) in Italy by competition regulator Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercacato (AGCM) for failing to comply with consumer law.

The charges relate to an investigation carried out by the authority last year (see Audience issue 208), when it found Viagogo was not providing adequate ticketing information, including face-value price, seat row and number, and conditions of sale.

The Switzerland-based company was fined €300,000 ($371,000) at the time and ordered to observe regulations, but consumer standards have remained unmet, resulting in the additional fine.

Although AGCM says it will do all in its power, using Italian and international law, to collect the fine, it hopes the naming and shaming of Viagogo’s wrongdoing will have the greatest impact.

“The most important thing is to stop the unfair commercial practice and let consumers know that the company is not correct in its behaviour,” AGCM spokeswoman Luisa Cordova tells Audience.

Claudio Trotta head of national promoter Barley Arts Production, who has long-campaigned against ticket touting, says Viagogo is only part of the problem.

“Viagogo deserves to be fined, but I’m not sure how much difference it will make,” says Trotta. “Along with Viagogo there is too much power in the hands of Live Nation and Ticketmaster [which own resale platforms].”

Meanwhile in Spain the Government is to conduct an investigation into alleged fraudulent practices in the secondary ticketing market, relating to shows by U2.

Tickets to see the band at Madrid’s WiZink Center (cap. 17,400) in September sold-out within 10 minutes at primary seller Ticketmaster, only to appear on resale sites such as Viagogo, StubHub and Tengoentradas at prices between €200-952 ($246-1,173).

Face-value prices for the Live Nation Spain-promoted concerts were €60-70 ($74-86).

Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sports Méndez de Vigo has requested that the Interior Ministry investigate how this “abusive practice” was possible.

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