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NZ investigates Viagogo after ‘hundreds’ complain

Viagogo is now under investigation on both sides of the Tasman, as New Zealand's Commerce Commission probes the site's business practices

By Jon Chapple on 20 Jun 2017

Jacqui Dean, New Zealand Commerce Commission

image © NZ National Party

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has begun “preliminary inquiries” into the business practices of Viagogo, joining its counterpart in Australia in investigating the secondary ticketing site for alleged breaches of consumer law.

As revealed on TVNZ’s Fair Go programme, the Commerce Commission launched its investigation after receiving “hundreds of complaints from customers” who feel misled by Viagogo, which critics argue masquerades as a primary-market site in order to lure in unexpected buyers.

Fair Go quotes one customer, Char Tata, who paid NZ$1,500 (US$1,086) for three Bruno Mars tickets when primary seller Ticketmaster still had inventory for as little as $99 each (US$79).

“If it’s costing people a lot of money, that’s a real concern for me”

“I thought when the sale went through, ‘Is he really that much?’,” said Tata. (Booking fees levied by sellers are typically not displayed until the check-out process.) “Is Bruno Mars worth that much?”

New Zealand’s minister of commerce and consumer affairs, Jacqui Dean (pictured), said it is “appalling that people are being deceived by a website”. “If it’s costing them a lot of money, then that’s a real concern for me,” she told the programme.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – the NZ Commerce Commission’s opposite number across the ditch – was passed evidence of alleged illegal activity by secondary ticket sellers on several sites, including Viagogo, in March.

 


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