LN Source SL
SEE Tickets SL
ETEP 2017 SL
Ticketmaster ILMC 30 SL
x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

news

“Misleading” Viagogo facing Australia court case

Government agency ACCC has instituted legal proceedings against Viagogo, saying its opaque fee structure and self-designation as an "official" seller deceive consumers

By Jon Chapple on 29 Aug 2017

Delia Rickard, ACCC

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard


Viagogo is facing legal action in Australia after being accused by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) of multiple breaches of consumer law over its “misleading” ticket pricing.

ACCC alleges the secretive, Swiss-headquartered secondary ticketer “made false or misleading representations, and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, regarding the price of tickets on its online platform by failing to disclose substantial fees” from 1 May 2017 to 26 June 2017.

“We allege that Viagogo failed to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront in the ticket price, including a 27.6% booking fee for most events and a handling fee,” says Delia Rickard, the deputy chair of ACCC, a government body responsible for bringing legal actions against companies that breach Australia’s Competition and Consumer Act.

ACCC, acting on information from consumers’ association Choice, cites several examples of the alleged illegal pricing, including the price of a ticket to The Book of Mormon increasing 31%, from A$135 to $177.45, after factoring in booking and handling fees, and two Cat Stevens tickets costing 29% more ($579.95, rather than $450) after fees.

Choice shops secondary ticket sites to Aus govt

It is also alleged Viagogo misled consumers by flagging tickets as almost sold out, without making clear this referred only to tickets listed on Viagogo, as well as promoting itself as an ‘official’ (ie primary) ticket seller on Google, mirroring the similar recent controversy in the UK.

Statements such as “‘less than 1% of tickets remaining’ created a sense of urgency for people to buy them straight away, when tickets may have still been available through other ticket sources”, adds Rickard, while the use of the term ‘official” implies “that consumers could buy official original tickets, when in fact Viagogo is a platform for tickets that are being [sold on] by others”.

ACCC, which says it has received 473 complaints about Viagogo so far this year, is seeking “declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective publication orders, orders for a compliance programme and costs” from the Federal Court of Australia.

“The ACCC expects all ticket reselling websites to be clear and upfront about the fees they charge, the type of tickets they sell and the nature of their business,” says Rickard.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

More news

Choice shops secondary ticket sites to Aus govt The consumer group says sites such as Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale could breaking a law which requires all charges to be included in the advertised...price
Viagogo hit by multiple speculative selling suits The publicity-shy secondary ticketer is facing fresh legal action from a coalition of Spanish promoters, adding to its growing collection of lawsuits
SIAE in legal blitz against touts, Viagogo The Italian PRO has filed a string of legal complaints against ticket resellers, the most recent of which alleges Lady Gaga tickets were listed even...before the presale
Italian ticketers hit with €1.7m in fines Concluding an investigation launched last October, competition watchdog AGCM has penalised TicketOne and four secondary sites for breaching consumer...rights legislation
Google drawn into secondary ticketing controversy As it emerges resale sites spend up to 15 times more on Google ads than some promoters and primary ticketers, tough questions are being asked of the...leading search engine