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Commerce Commission interim injunction against Viagogo set for New Zealand High Court hearing
An interim injunction filed by New Zealand's Commerce Commission against the controversial online ticket reseller Viagogo is due to be heard in the High Court hearing in Auckland today.
The Commerce Commission move follows hundreds of complaints against the controversial, Swiss-based business.
However, with the Commerce Commission having advised that Viagogo refused to be served in New Zealand, the ticket reseller is unlikley to appear at the hearing in Auckland.
Instead, Viagogo has asked to be served in Switzerland - a process the regulator said would take six months.
While Viagogo has not made any written submissions, and will not have legal representation at the hearing, the New Zealand Herald has suggested it may have observers in the public gallery.
The Commerce Commission, which has collected more than 550 complaints about Viagogo, alleges the site has made false claims about the number of tickets left for various events; frequently allowed the same ticket to be resold multiple times; given the impression it is an official ticket for events when it is not, and made false representations about a money-back guarantee. The regulator alleges that at least 79 consumers have been sent invalid tickets.
It also alleges that undisclosed fees increase the price of a ticket by a third, and says that Viagogo's dispute-resolution process, which requires a customer to work through a Swiss court, is unreasonable.
Multiple customers have also told the New Zealand Herald, and the Commission, that they thought Viagogo was an official ticket seller because the high-rotate Google advertisers typically appears at the top of search results for any given event. They only realised it was a second-hand or "scalping" site after later learning tickets were far cheaper through official channels.
New Zealand is the latest country to take action against Viagogo after the UK, Italy and Spain.
However, Viagogo has reportedly ignored Court rulings.
In the UK, following a ruling last November, its Competition Markets Authority has advised "serious concerns that Viagogo has not complied with important aspects of the court order we secured against them."
It says it will return to court if Viagogo continues to, in its view, ignore the order.
In a related development, Consumer New Zealand Viagogo should be dropped from Google search results.
Chief Executive Sue Chetwin yesterday told The AM Show that Google has not taken a strong enough stand against the site due to the fact it makes money off it.
She advised "Google is not prepared to give away all of the millions that they're getting from this company, which I think reflects very badly on Google."
Viagogo was founded by Eric Baker, a Harvard graduate from a wealthy business family, who had previously set up StubHub.
Early backers included the tennis couple Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi; the financier Jacob Rothschild; Bernard Arnault, the billionaire Chief Executive of the luxury firm Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy; Herbert Kloiber, a German media mogul; and the London-based investment firm Index Ventures.
13th December 2018 - Western Australian Government introduces legislation to combat ticket scalping
8th December 2018 - Viagogo agrees to UK competition authority demands on ticket resales
12th September 2018 - Viagogo responds to calls for Google AdWords service to reject its resales
15th August 2018 - New Zealand Commerce Commission begins court action against Viagogo
8th August 2018 - New Zealand Rugby calls meeting to help fans tackle ticket resellers
5th June 2018 - FIFA makes criminal complaint against ticket reseller Viagogo
8th February 2018 - Google to demand ticket resale site transparency
23rd November 2017 - Google updates AdWords policy to restrict online ticket scalpers
1st November 2017 - Hamilton event patrons urged to purchase tickets from official vendors
1st September 2017 - Google urged to block online resellers who dupe ticket buyers
30th August 2017 - Consumer NZ calls for clampdown on ticket resellers
20th April 2017 - Consumer NZ investigates ticket resellers
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