News April 18, 2019

Guilty: Federal Court finds Viagogo misled Aussie consumers

Guilty: Federal Court finds Viagogo misled Aussie consumers

The Federal Court has today found controversial ticket reseller AG mislead local consumers and breached Australian consumer law.

This was through making false or misleading representations
and engaging in conduct liable to mislead the public when reselling entertainment, music and live sport event tickets.

The Court found Viagogo misled consumers by claiming tickets to certain events were scarce when the scarcity only referred to the tickets available on its resale platform and didn’t include tickets available elsewhere.

“Viagogo’s claims misled consumers into buying tickets by including claims like ‘less than 1 per cent tickets remaining’ to create a false sense of urgency,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

The Court also found that using the word ‘official’ in its online advertisements was misleading.

As a result of this, consumers were misled into thinking they were purchasing tickets from an official site, when in fact Viagogo is a ticket resale website.

“We urge consumers to only buy tickets from authorised sellers, or they risk their tickets being dishonoured at the gates or doors,” Sims added.

The Court also found that from May 1, 2017, to June 26 2017, Viagogo’s website claims drew consumers in with a headline price but failed to sufficiently disclose additional fees or specify a single price for tickets.

The additional fees included a 27.6% booking fee which applied to most tickets.

“Viagogo was charging extraordinarily high booking fees and many consumers were caught out,” Sims said.

“Today’s Federal Court decision is a reminder to businesses that consumers must be clearly told that there are additional fees associated with a displayed price.”

Penalties and orders against the company will be determined at a later date.

The ACCC took action against Viagogo in August 2017.

UPDATE: Cris Miller, head of business development at Viagogo has provided TMN with the following response to the ruling:

“We are disappointed by the ruling. It does not reflect our current ticketing platform and the many changes we have made. We strongly believe our website is compliant and we will continue to work closely and constructively with the ACCC.

“Our first priority continues to be to provide people with a safe and secure platform to buy or sell sport, music and entertainment tickets, many of which would otherwise not have been available to them due to the limited number that event organisers release to the box office.

“Without services like viagogo, people would be forced to return to buying and selling tickets outside venues, or to use informal social media platforms where no customer protection exists. We don’t believe anyone should have to take that risk.”

“We are disappointed that the Chair of the Commission does not support the greater competition that viagogo and other ticket resellers bring to the market which provides greater choice for Australian consumers.”

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