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New Zealand Commerce Commission begins court action against Viagogo
The New Zealand Commerce Commission is taking online ticket reseller Viagogo to court claiming it operates in breach of the nation’s Fair Trading Act.
The Commission is arguing that while Viagogo states it is an official seller it is actually a resale site. It also contends that it has made misleading claims about the availability of tickets, and advertised incorrect pricing for tickets.
The Commission is aiming to get declarations that Viagogo has breached the Act and an injunction stopping it from committing further breaches.
According to RadioNZ, the Commission has received more than 400 complaints against the Switzerland-based resale platform, mainly concerning the selling of fake tickets.
After its own investigation into the ticket resale market in 2017 found evidence of misleading sales tactics, Consumer NZ Chief Executive Sue Chetwin said she was pleased the Commission was taking action against the Switzerland-based reseller.
Chetwin stated “consumers are being duped by Viagogo’s sales practices. Many purchasers who end up on the site don’t know they’re dealing with a reseller. They’re pressured to buy by claims tickets are in high demand and selling fast when that may be far from the case.
“Their practices are ruthless and possibly fraudulent, so we think it’s great,” she said.
Describing the company as “devious”, Chetwin added “Google has said they’re not allowed to call themselves an official ticketing site, but if you search any event or sports game - they come up so you think you’re buying through a ticketing site.
“They are very shadowy and difficult to deal with - we’ve never been able to get hold of them … they don’t have those sort of activities because they’re trying to be an honest business.”
However, Chetwin fears that even it the Commission wins it may not stop Viagogo from trading in New Zealand, although it would make it harder for consumers to be ripped off by them.
Chetwin concluded “what it will do is make them trade more honestly so that when they have the price of a ticket – then that will actually be the price you pay for it and they will have to show that they’ve got real tickets – as opposed to fraudulent tickets or children’s tickets masquerading as adult tickets.
“I think this will give consumers reassurance that if they buy tickets through Viagogo they’ll be able to get into the event and they’re paying the price which they saw advertised on the site.”
Unclear pricing and hidden fees also resulted in consumers paying significant mark-ups on tickets. In one case, a consumer was charged $445 by Viagogo for a ticket that had a face value of just $59, a 654% mark-up.
Regulators in other countries have already taken action against Viagogo. Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it was prosecuting Viagogo, alleging the company had misled consumers.
8th August 2018 - New Zealand Rugby calls meeting to help fans tackle ticket resellers
23rd November 2017 - Google updates AdWords policy to restrict online ticket scalpers
5th October 2017 - Choice names Viagogo among Australia’s shonkiest products of 2017
1st September 2017 - Google urged to block online resellers who dupe ticket buyers
28th August 2017 - ACCC commences legal action against ticket reseller Viagogo
30th August 2017 - Consumer NZ calls for clampdown on ticket resellers
20th April 2017 - Consumer NZ investigates ticket resellers
23rd February 2017 - Ticket reseller Viagogo hit by multiple Spanish legal actions
13th January 2017 - Southlanders warned about overseas ticketing websites
24th September 2016 - Growing use of bots for hot sport and entertainment tickets reignite scalping debate
30th August 2016 - Baycourt warns against online ticket scalpers
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