The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun legal proceedings against secondary ticketing platform Viagogo in the High Court.
The news comes after an investigation into the secondary ticketing sector by the CMA, which resulted in enforcement action against four major secondary ticketing websites last November.
As a result, three of those sites – StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave – offered formal commitments in April to change the way they do business. (Live Nation has since gone one further and vowed to shut down GETMEIN! and Seatwave in Europe.)
Despite being warned a failure to do likewise would result in court action, Viagogo did not offer to make the changes CMA considers necessary to bring it in line with the law.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said: “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.
“This applies to Viagogo as much as it does to any other secondary ticketing website. 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.”
The CMA says it is concerned that Viagogo is breaking consumer law – leaving consumers not being told if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door, and not being informed which seat in the venue they will get.
Other concerns include fans not being told who is selling the ticket, so that they can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business, as well as would-be punters being
given misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets – which has the potential to lead to them being rushed into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice.
The CMA is seeking a court order to bring these practices to an end, and to ensure that Viagogo does not repeat ‘historic failures to make its customers aware of the face value of tickets on sale through its site’.
The CMA is also seeking an interim enforcement order from the court that, if successful, will put a stop to some practices in the period up until the full trial.
Adam Webb, Campaign Manager, FanFair Alliance said: “FanFair Alliance warmly welcomes today’s announcement by the Competition & Markets Authority, as will the countless consumer victims of Viagogo. Hopefully it spells the endgame to this site’s misleading and abhorrent practices.”Music Business Worldwide