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CMA UK begins legal action against Viagogo

The British competition authority is taking Viagogo to the High Court, after the reclusive secondary ticketer ignored multiple demands to comply with consumer law

By IQ on 31 Aug 2018

Andrea Coscelli, Competition and Markets Authority

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli

image © CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has brought legal proceedings against Viagogo in the UK’s High Court for its continued failure to “overhaul the way [it does] business”, the competition watchdog announced this morning.

Following a nearly year-long investigation into the secondary ticketing sector, the CMA said last November it would take consider taking legal action against websites it suspected of breaking UK consumer law, giving the sites in question a deadline of spring 2018 to get their houses in order. Three of those four sites – StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave, the latter pair of which are in the process of being closed down – complied in April, agreeing to a set of new transparency measures, with Viagogo the last hold-out.

“Despite being warned a failure to do likewise would result in court action, Viagogo has not offered to make the changes the CMA considers necessary to bring it in line with the law,” reads a CMA statement. “Legal proceedings have therefore been brought in the High Court.”

Andrea Coscelli, the authority’s CEO, says: “People who buy tickets on websites like Viagogo must be given all the information they are entitled to. It’s imperative they know key facts, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event, before parting with their hard-earned money.

“While other businesses have agreed to overhaul their sites to ensure they respect the law, Viagogo has not”

“This applies to Viagogo as much as it does to any other secondary ticketing websites. Unfortunately, while other businesses have agreed to overhaul their sites to ensure they respect the law, Viagogo has not. We will now be pursuing action through the courts to ensure that they comply with the law.”

“Given the importance of ensuring its concerns are addressed promptly”, the CMA is also seeking an interim enforcement order from the court that, if successful, will come into force in the period leading up to the full trial.

A spokesperson for anti-ticket touting organisation comments: “FanFair Alliance warmly welcomes today’s announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority, as will the countless consumer victims of Viagogo. Hopefully it spells the endgame to this site’s misleading and abhorrent practices.”

Outside of the UK, Viagogo faces the prospect of legal action in GermanyFranceSpain and Switzerland, as well as New Zealand and Australia.


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