fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Booking fees in the dock in Germany

Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the Consumer Advice Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in Germany, has brought legal action against CTS Eventim over the ticket agency’s non-refunding of booking fees on events cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Verbraucherzentrale sued Eventim in Munich after claiming to have received “massive [amounts of] complaints” from consumers in the state who received ticket money back less the booking fee. The cancelled shows were organised by a various promoters which had “commissioned Eventim to reimburse the ticket costs for cancelled events”, according to Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the North Rhine-Westphalian branch of Germany’s network of 51 consumer organisations.

The case reached the First District Court of Munich (Landgericht München I) on Wednesday 9 June, with both the Consumer Advice Centre and CTS Eventim claiming victory – the former because it secured a change to Eventim’s terms and conditions on ticket refunds, and the latter because the judgment confirmed that the promoter is responsible for overseeing ticket refunds, while it had dispensed with the T&Cs in question in October last year.

Wolfgang Schuldzinski, CEO of Verbraucherzentrale NRW, says the Consumer Advice Centre’s position is that, “in a large number of cases, Eventim wrongly withheld sums of money instead of repaying the entire ticket cost to consumers”.

The ruling confirmed that the ticket seller is “neither obliged to reimburse the ticket price nor the advance booking fee”

Following the court judgment, “if Eventim was commissioned to repay the ticket cost in the event of cancellations, those affected can now request Eventim to pay the outstanding amounts [the fees],” adds Schuldzinski. “This is a great success.”

CTS Eventim, meanwhile, welcomes the court judgement as a “clarification” that for postponed or cancelled events, “the organiser alone is always the contact point for ticket buyers” as opposed to the ticket agency.

According to Eventim, the Landgericht’s ruling confirmed that the ticket seller is “neither obliged to reimburse the ticket price nor the advance booking fee”, which is the responsibility of the concert organiser. CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenbgerg, who says his company should never have been the defendant in the case, criticises the lawsuit as nothing more “PR for their own ends” by Verbraucherzentrale NRW.

Additionally, the court found that tickets for shows which have been postponed – as opposed to cancelled outright – remain valid for the rescheduled events, according to MusikWoche. In Germany, a ticket voucher scheme allows promoters to issue vouchers for rescheduled events in lieu of cash refunds.

Both sides have a month to appeal the court’s verdict, which is not yet final.

 


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.

CTS facing €1m revenue impact after ticket fee defeat

CTS Eventim has told investors to expect a “limited” decline in revenue of around €1 million in its 2018 financial results, after Germany’s highest court ruled the ticket seller could not continue to charge a €2.50 fee on print-at-home tickets.

Eventim took its case to the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) in Karlsruhe following defeats in the district court of Bremen, then the higher regional court of Bremen, in September 2016 and June 2017, respectively.

OLG upholds ban on self-printed ticket fees

The BGH ruling brings to an end the legal tussle between the company and the North Rhine-Westphalian Consumer Association (NRW) in Germany, although a similar lawsuit has yet to be settled in neighbouring Austria. Canadian promoter Evenko is similarly facing legal action in Quebec for charging ‘delivery’ fees on digital tickets.

“CTS Eventim acknowledges the BGH judgment and will implement it accordingly”

In a statement, an Eventim spokesperson says the decision will have “only a moderate financial impact”, as the ruling is “confined to ticket orders for which a print@home fee of €2.50 is charged”. “These,” they add, “represent a mere thousandth of group revenue” – around €1m.

While downplaying the financial impact of the ruling, the company says it could have a negative impact on its venue partners. “Proceeds from print@home make it possible for numerous venues in Germany” – many of which are publicly owned – “to offer their visitors an additional, very convenient and secure option for gaining admission,” adds the spokesperson.

“CTS Eventim acknowledges the BGH judgment and will implement it accordingly,” the company’s statement concludes. “As soon as the detailed grounds for judgment are released, the company will make the appropriate adjustments to its [print-at-home] Ticketdirect service.”

 


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.

Viagogo reprimanded over “misleading” marketing

German consumer protection agency Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZ) has criticised Viagogo for “deceiving” consumers by allegedly masquerading as a primary ticket seller.

The Bavarian (Bayern) branch of VZ says it has, along with its counterparts in seven other German states, received numerous complaints from customers that Viagogo seeks to disguise the fact it is a secondary ticketing site, posing instead as as “an official ticket sales portal”.

“In this way,” says the agency’s Susanne Baumer, “the company deceives users about the essential characteristics of its service.”

“Consumers are particularly critical of the fact that the company appears to be an official ticket sales portal”

VZ Bayern also blasts Zurich-based Viagogo’s guarantee as “useless”, noting that by “guaranteeing the receipt of tickets, [Viagogo] reinforces the impression that consumers are dealing with a direct ticket seller. In fact, this guarantee does not include any more than the statutory rights of the buyer.”

The agency has, therefore, sent a letter demanding the secondary ticketing site “make its status as a ticket exchange clear” and cease all advertising using the “misleading” term Viagogo Guarantee (Viagogo-Garantie).

Verbraucherzentrale in North Rhine-Westphalia won a court case in September forcing CTS Eventim to stop charging service fees on print-at-home tickets.

 


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.