THE DECISION by Italy’s highest administrative court, the Consiglio di Stato (CoS), to overturn a €1 million ($1.13m) fine against controversial secondary ticketing platform Viagogo has left Italian promoters suspecting high-level corruption.
Viagogo has successfully appealed against the €1m fine imposed by the competition authority Autorita’ Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), for alleged unfair commercial practices.
The Italian arm of the Swiss-based resale operation was ordered to pay the fine In April, after being found to be in violation of the consumer code. Viagogo was initially fined €300,000 ($340,000) in April 2017, but that was increased due to continued non compliance with AGCM’s demands.
Viagogo appealed to the CoS, which ruled that the company is a “passive hosting provider” and so not directly responsible for the failure of sellers on its platform to provide information
required by law.
“We look forward to continuing discussions about the positive role Viagogo plays in Italy and around the world through our platform, which connects sellers and buyers, making it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to have access to events that would otherwise not be accessible due to the limited number of tickets made available through event organisers and managers,” says Viagogo MD Cris Miller.
But one of the country’s leading promoters and a fervent campaigner against ticket abuse, Claudio Trotta of Barley Arts Production, reacted angrily to the CoS decision and the claim that Viagogo increases the opportunity for fans to find tickets.
“Only an idiot would say something like that because as we all know there is only a certain amount of tickets made available for any one show.”
“I feel there must have been some corruption behind this, as since January there has been new restrictions against secondary ticketing and this month has seen personalised tickets introduced for all shows with more than a 5,000 capacity, which makes it much harder for ticket touts.
“The fight is still on. At the moment they are winning but the fight is not over.”
Meanwhile in Germany, a Munich Court has ruled Viagogo must no longer advertise that tickets re-sold on its website guarantee entry to events.
The decision by the Landgericht district court resulted from action taken by Bavarian consumer protection body Verbraucherzentrale Bayern (VB), which aired concerns Viagogo was undertaking deceptive marketing practices and had an unclear fee structure.
The court also ruled that people who purchase tickets on Viagogo should be given the name and address of the sellers, and that Viagogo should clearly present itself as a resale marketplace, not a primary ticket seller.