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Viagogo claims desire to meet with New Zealand’s Commerce Commission

Viagogo claims desire to meet with New Zealand’s Commerce Commission
July 1, 2019

Viagogo has accused New Zealand’s Commerce Commission of ignoring its attempts to settle legal action over its operations in the country.

The controversial ticketing firm’s US-based Managing Director Cris Miller, last week told the Stuff news site that the Commission had not responded to Viagogo regarding its requests to settle outstanding legal action.

In April, the country’s competition regulator was given approval to appeal a Court decision from February that ruled against issuing an injunction against Viagogo. The High Court in Auckland ruled that the controversial ticketing site had not been formally served notice, meaning the injunction request was lost.

The Commission had argued that Viagogo was a resale site and not an official ticket seller, that it made misleading claims about the availability of tickets as well as advertising incorrect pricing for tickets.

It was not seeking to stop the Swiss-headquartered Viagogo from reselling tickets to New Zealanders, but to alter its wording that it claims breaches the Fair Trading Act.

With the Commerce Commission not having not previously been able to convince the Courts it has jurisdiction over a foreign company which operates online, Miller advised “we have attempted to settle with them, twice, to go through what their concerns are. We’ve made changes based off of what they requested, but haven’t had any dialogue with them.

“The opportunity of sitting down with the Commerce Commission is something we’re interested in doing.”

Miller did not indicate if he had, or was intending to, visit New Zealand, although he is understood to have visited Australia in April this year, reportedly to lobby Federal politicians not to introduce anti-scalping legislation.

However, no records appear to exist of any such meetings.

Responding to the indication that Miller wanted to meet, the Commerce Commission advised in a statement that it “had no prior knowledge of the Viagogo representative’s visit to New Zealand and we have not had a request to meet.

“If Viagogo wished to ‘sit down’ with us we would have been happy to do so.”

The Commission denied it had not engaged with Viagogo, adding “we have had discussions with Viagogo about our case and Viagogo has offered to make some changes to its website. As yet we do not feel those changes are sufficient to resolve our concerns.

“Viagogo instructed counsel to attend the hearing only for the purpose of telling the Court that it does not submit to the New Zealand courts’ jurisdiction.”

An investigation by Scottish newspaper the Daily Record has revealed that ticket-scalpers are responsible for almost 90% of ticket listings on Viagogo.

Published today, the report looked at 25 major upcoming gigs at Scotland’s biggest venue, the 13,000-capacity SSE Hydro, and found that official traders offered 2,030 passes, or 89 per cent, out of a total 2,277, while only 247 were listed by fans.

It found that 119 different scalpers were posting tickets on Viagogo, with only 13 of them registered in Scotland. 80 came from elsewhere in the UK, while the other 26 were registered outside the UK in Dubai, the Ukraine and the USA.

After a long-running and on-going battle with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Viagogo now requires each seller to list an address or phone number. However, the Daily Record found that the controversial ticketing resale site only provides customers with this information towards the end of the sales process, after customers have entered card details.

It also noted that many of the addresses were for PO Boxes or used trading names that do not correspond with any UK-listed companies.

Lower image: Cris Miller during his recent visit to Sydney.

Related Articles

18th April 2019 - Federal Court finds Viagogo guilty of misleading consumers

5th April 2019 - Viagogo executives lobby Federal MPs against ticket resale restrictions

20th March 2019 - UK MPs call for Viagogo boycott and changes to ticket scalping laws

12th March 2019 - Viagogo blamed as 200 refused entry to Dunedin concert

4th March 2019 - New Zealand Government to legislate on ticket scalping

19th February 2019 - New Zealand High Court Judge rejects Commerce Commission injunction against Viagogo

11th February 2019 - Concert promoter Michael Chugg says Viagogo is ‘out of control ... f***ing thieves’

6th February 2019 - Commerce Commission describes Viagogo as a ‘marketplace for scalpers and fraudsters’ in Auckland High Court

5th February 2019 - Commerce Commission interim injunction against Viagogo set for New Zealand High Court hearing

8th December 2018 - Viagogo agrees to UK competition authority demands on ticket resales

15th August 2018 - New Zealand Commerce Commission begins court action against Viagogo

17th March 2018 - Commerce Commission issues warning over buying event tickets through Viagogo

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