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ACCC commences legal action against ticket reseller Viagogo

ACCC commences legal action against ticket reseller Viagogo
August 28, 2017

Following hundreds of complaints from unhappy consumers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against ticket reseller Viagogo.

Amid allegations that the Swiss-based business made false or misleading representations, and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by failing to disclose substantial fees included in the price of tickets, the ACCC is alleging that it breached the Australian Consumer Law when reselling entertainment, music and live sport tickets between from 1st May and 26th June 2017.

The move follows warnings over the weekend from Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath and NSW Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean against consumers doing trade with the reseller.

Announcing its Federal Court action, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard advised “we allege that Viagogo failed to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront in the ticket price, including a 27.6% booking fee for most events and a handling fee.”

Rickard cited an example of tickets advertised on Viagogo on 18th May 2017:

• The price of a Book of Mormon ticket increased from $135 to $177.45 (31% increase) when the $37.50 booking fee and $4.95 handling fees were included
• The total price for three Ashes 2017/18 tickets increased from $330.15 to $426.82 (29% increase) when the $91.71 booking fee and $4.95 handling fees were included 
• The total price for two Cat Stevens tickets increased from $450.00 to $579.95 (29% increase) when the $125 booking fee and $4.95 handling fees were included

It is also alleged that Viagogo misled consumers by making representations on its website that tickets to certain events were scarce and likely to run out soon, without disclosing that this “scarcity” referred to tickets on its website only.

Rickard added “Viagogo’s statements such as ‘less than 1% of tickets remaining’ created a sense of urgency for people to buy them straight away, when tickets may have still been available through other ticket sources.”

The ACCC further alleges that Viagogo misled consumers by promoting itself as an authorised ticket seller through the use of the word ‘official’ in search engine advertisements such as Google.

Rickard explained “by using the word ‘official’, we allege that Viagogo represented in these ads that consumers could buy official original tickets, when in fact Viagogo is a platform for tickets that are being on-sold by others.”

The ACCC has received 473 contacts about Viagogo from Australian consumers this year.

Rickard concluded “the ACCC expects all ticket reselling websites to be clear and upfront about the fees they charge, the type of tickets they sell and the nature of their business.”

The ACCC is dealing with Viagogo's Australian lawyers and is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective publication orders, orders for a compliance program and costs.

As Viagogo AG is located in Switzerland, the ACCC is making arrangements for service of court documents in that country.

24th August 2017 - CRICKET AUSTRALIA CANCELS 3,000 SCALPED TICKETS FOR PERTH ASHES TEST

8th August 2017 - LPA RELEASES GUIDE TO HELP CONSUMERS AVOID TICKETING SCAMS

20th July 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT MOVES TOWARDS HALTING OF TICKET BOTS

18th July 2017 - WARNING THAT RESOLD AND SCALPED COMMONWEALTH GAMES TICKETS WILL BE CANCELLED

22nd May 2017 - INFLATED TICKET RESALE PRICES IMPACTING CONSUMERS’ DISCRETIONARY ENTERTAINMENT SPENDING 

17th May 2017 - PROMOTERS SLAM EXCLUSIVE WELLINGTON VENUES TICKET DEAL

13th May 2017 - LABOR SHADOW MINISTER SLAMS GOOGLE AND VIAGOGO OVER SALES OF FAKE CONCERT TICKETS

12th May 2017 - WACA TO HOST DECEMBER ASHES TEST

4th May 2017 - LIVE PERFORMANCE AUSTRALIA CALLS FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ‘STOP THE BOTS’

22nd March 2017 - SENATE PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR REFORM OF LAWS AGAINST TICKET SCALPING

8th March 2017 - CHOICE MAGAZINE ACCUSES TICKET RESALE SITES OF MISLEADING FANS

23rd February 2017 - TICKET RESELLER VIAGOGO HIT BY MULTIPLE SPANISH LEGAL ACTIONS 

29th May 2013 - NSW FAIR TRADING COMMISSIONER REMINDS CONSUMERS OF GYM MEMBERSHIP RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES 


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We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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