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Austrian court finds against Viagogo T&Cs

A total of 42 clauses in Viagogo's terms and conditions are unlawful and must be struck out, the Supreme Court of Justice (OGH) has ruled

By IQ on 19 Feb 2021

The case was heard in Austria's Supreme Court of Justice (OGH)

The case was heard in Austria's Supreme Court of Justice (OGH)


image © Der Oberste Gerichtshof

In a probe into Viagogo’s terms and conditions, the supreme court of Austria has found more than 40 clauses of the secondary ticket site’s general terms for buyers and sellers are illegal.

Finding in favour of VKI, the Austrian Consumers’ Association, the Supreme Court of Justice (Oberster Gerichtshof, OGH) ruled that 42 clauses of the site’s general T&Cs, including provisions on refunds, replacement tickets and the supremacy of Swiss law, are unlawful in Austria.

Notable clauses deemed illegal in the OGH ruling include:

  • No refund if lost: A clause stipulating that all sales are final, so the buyer has no right to a refund or exchange if the ticket is lost, or the terms of the ticket sale are only partially fulfilled – eg if there is a date or time change
  • Refund for non-delivery: If tickets are not delivered to the buyer and returned to Viagogo more than three times, the buyer forgoes their right to a refund, regardless of whether they were at fault or not
  • Replacement tickets: A clause stipulating that if the seller does not deliver the tickets, Viagogo may, at its own discretion, decide whether to offer replacement tickets or refund the buyer
  • Seat changes: A clause allowing the seller to change the seat to which the listing refers for a comparable seat without the buyer’s consent
  • Liability disclaimers: A number of clauses purporting to exclude or limit Viagogo’s liability, such as for its own website and services
  • Applicable law: A clause stating that Swiss law applies to contracts entered into on the Austrian site. In fact, consumers are protected under Austrian consumer law and have the right to sue the reseller before an Austrian court

“We hope the OGH’s decision encourages other jurisdictions to ensure that their consumers are equally protected”

According to anti-touting group FEAT (Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing), Viagogo will legally be required have to amend all 42 clauses, both for viagogo.at and for Austrian consumers accessing the site via viagogo.com.

“For a platform that claims to serve fans, the level of protection that Viagogo offers its users, as brought to light in this ruling, is shocking,” comments FEAT campaign lead Katie O’Leary. “We welcome the OGH’s decision and hope that it encourages other jurisdictions to ensure that their consumers are equally protected.”

In May, the OGH ruled that Viagogo and other secondary ticketing sites must disclose the identity of ticket sellers, including name and address, and whether tickets are personalised ahead of ticket purchase.

 


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