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UK court ruling set to see Viagogo having to reimburse fans
Viagogo could be forced to pay back millions of pounds to United Kingdom fans who bought tickets through the site only to be turned away at the door.
A landmark court order against Viagogo obtained by the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this week includes a requirement that the company funds an independent review of outstanding refund claims submitted since January 2016.
Any customers found to be entitled to compensation will not need to do anything to make a claim and should be contacted by the company. The review could lead to refunds for fans of artists such as
As reported by The Guardian, in a separate measure that is expected to prove costly for Viagogo, the company will have to pay for a third party to monitor its overall compliance with the court order, which demanded a “complete overhaul” of the tickets site.
It will also have to pay the CMA’s legal costs, which are likely to be substantial given the regulator’s lengthy investigation.
The CMA’s legal victory forces Viagogo to address alleged breaches of United Kingdom laws designed to protect consumers. From 17th January next year, it will have to make changes such as identifying when sellers are professional touts and informing customers whether there are ticket restrictions that mean they may be refused entry. Viagogo will have to pay for independent monitoring to ensure it is complying with the commitments.
The order states: “If you, Viagogo AG, disobey this order, you may be held in contempt of court and liable to be fined or you have your assets seized and your directors may also be liable to imprisonment or to be fined or have their assets seized.”
The full court order, obtained by The Guardian on Thursday, includes a raft of other previously undisclosed demands that Viagogo will have to comply with. These include barring Viagogo from advising people seeking a refund to relist the tickets on its website to recoup their money, a practice that allowed the company to reap extra revenues by claiming a commission on the subsequent sale.
It will also have to remove messages that claim it does not itself buy or sell tickets in order to list them on its website. It has previously claimed it does not do this.
Professional scalpers and ticket resellers who use the site will have to provide a postal address to buyers on the checkout page, making it easy for promoters and consumers to identify them.
Viagogo will also have to hand over details about its biggest sellers to the CMA, if the regulator demands the information.
Claire Turnham, who has already secured nearly £1 million in refunds from the company through the Facebook campaign group Victim of Viagogo, welcomed the compensation requirement.
Turnham advised “this has to be the most encouraging step forward yet.
“They may be being forced to comply but it’s still a good thing because we can’t continue as we are. If people think they have a claim, I’d still advise them to contact the company directly.”
Viagogo, which is owned and run by the US entrepreneur Eric Baker, has not commented on the ruling.
30th November 2018 - LPA welcomes Labor Plans on Ticketing and Music
6th November 2018 - Hong Kong Consumer Council calls for overhaul of ticket resale laws
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
5th June 2018 - FIFA makes criminal complaint against ticket reseller Viagogo
31st May 2018 - Viagogo faces UK investigation as Minister urges boycott
25th April 2018 - Viagogo faces UK court action for failing to protect consumers
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
23rd February 2017 - Ticket reseller Viagogo hit by multiple Spanish legal actions
7th December 2016 - Overseas authorities introduce anti ticket scalping legislation
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