Viagogo must ‘overhaul’ its business to protect consumers under court order

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Viagogo must “overhaul the way it does business” under a court order secured by the competition watchdog following legal action launched over concerns the site was breaking consumer protection law.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the High Court order was “a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through Viagogo” and will ensure that customers know key facts such as what seat they will get and if there is a risk they will be turned away at the door.

The order is the result of legal proceedings launched by the CMA in August over concerns that the secondary ticketing site was breaking consumer protection law.

Under the order, Viagogo must tell ticket buyers if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door, inform consumers which seat in the venue they will get and provide information about who is selling the ticket to allow the customer to benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business.

It must also not give misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets, which the CMA said had the potential to lead to customers rushing into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice.

The order will also make it easier for consumers to get their money back under Viagogo’s guarantee when things go wrong and ensure that the site does not repeat historic failures to make its customers aware of the face value of tickets, the watchdog said.

Viagogo must comply with the court order by mid-January, the same deadline set for other resale sites that have already agreed to change their practices.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “This court order is a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through Viagogo.

“We have been clear throughout our investigation that people who use these resale websites must know key facts before parting with their hard-earned money, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event at all.

“Viagogo has agreed to a comprehensive overhaul of its site to ensure it respects the law, just like the other resale sites who have already signed commitments to improve the information they offer and give people a fair deal.”

The CMA began enforcement action against four secondary ticketing websites last November, with three of them – StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave – committing to change their business practices.

A Viagogo spokesman said: “We are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement that provides even greater transparency to consumers.”

Fair Ticketing Alliance chairman Stephen Lee said: “As responsible ticket re-sellers, we have long campaigned, in public and in private, for Viagogo to be more open with ordinary fans.

“This has been included in our strict code of practice that requires our members not to trade on sites that do not comply with all CMA requirements.

“We look forward to these requirements coming into effect for Viagogo in early 2019, along with other ticket exchange sites.

“It will be a Happy New Year for entertainment fans, who will get a better live music experience in future as well as responsible re-sellers.”

Digital Minister Margot James said: “This is a great victory for consumers, giving real fans the chance to see their favourite stars at a fair price.

“Government is committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the secondary ticketing market. We have banned the use of ticket bots and are working with industry to find solutions that will kill off crooked practices once and for all.”

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