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New Zealand’s Commerce Commission prepares to sue Viagogo

Following the action of a number of countries, the Commission is to commence civil proceedings in the High Court against the controversial ticket reseller

By Molly Long on 17 Aug 2018

A number of complaints were made to New Zealand's Commerce Commission about Bruno Mars tickets being mis-sold by Viagogo

A number of complaints were made to the Commission about Bruno Mars tickets being missold by Viagogo


image © Flickr: slgckgc

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has announced plans this week to begin civil proceedings against Viagogo in the country’s High Court. This will be the latest in a string of court cases for the Geneva-based ticket resale site, which is already facing action in Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Australia.

The Commission will seek a declaration from Viagogo that their actions have breached the Fair Trading Act and an injunction restraining it from doing so again. It will also seek corrective advertising orders for future sales.

The court case is a response to what the Commission believe to be a number of false and misleading representations made on the part of Viagogo. The falsehoods will be brought up in court, and echo many of the complaints made about Viagogo in its various other legal proceedings around the world.

“This has been a longstanding investigation, and in large measure that is because of the complexity of pursuing a case against an online trader based offshore.”

Namely, these include misleading the public into thinking it was an “official” ticket retailer; misleadingly claiming tickets were about to sell out; falsely “guaranteeing” valid tickets and deceptively advertising the wrong prices for tickets. Since the beginning of 2017, New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has received more than 400 complaints about the secondary ticketers, making it the most complained-about trader of the period.

For over two years, Viagogo has faced disputes, including a number of legal actions from the Spanish government in February 2017, a preliminary injunction from FIFA in January 2018 and a €1 million fine from Italy in April 2018. The latest in this line of controversy is an ongoing case with the UK’s Trading Standards authority.

Speaking on the forthcoming launch of proceedings, Stuart Wallace, head of consumer at the Commerce Commission says: “We acknowledge that this has been a longstanding investigation, and in large measure that is because of the complexity of pursuing a case against an online trader based offshore.

“We are pleased to have progressed matters to the point where we are now able to launch proceedings.”

 


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