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News May 23, 2022

Live Music Industry Welcomes ‘Outstanding Result’ as Court Rejects Viagogo Appeal

Live Music Industry Welcomes ‘Outstanding Result’ as Court Rejects Viagogo Appeal

The live music industry warmly welcomes the Full Federal Court’s decision last week to dismiss an appeal from Viagogo, and to uphold a $7 million penalty imposed on the rogue ticketing company.

The Full Court upheld the findings made in 2019 that the controversial secondary ticket reseller had misled consumers on the sale of tickets to live music and sporting events, a decision that was accompanied with a multi-million dollar punishment.

Viagogo’s appeal fell flat last Wednesday (May 18), and those will earlier court findings will stand.

“This is an outstanding result for our industry, and very welcomed,” ALMBC chair Stephen Wade tells TIO.

Ticketing is “an integral part of the live music industry and Viagogo has consistently shown through its actions that it has little regard for the consumer,” he continues.

“This in turn affects our whole industry, so the thought that this has now been addressed and they are held accountable for their actions is wonderful news.”

Live Performance Australia echoes those comments. The peak body “welcomes the Full Federal Court’s dismissal of Viagogo’s appeal on misleading representations and its upholding of the $7 million penalty for breaching Australian Consumer Law,” LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson tells TIO.

“Misleading consumers and dodgy ticket reselling practices are detrimental to our industry. As we rebuild from the significant impacts of Covid-19, we need consumers to feel confident when buying tickets and transparency is critical. We will continue to do all we can to ensure consumers are protected from being misled and/or ripped off.” 

Earlier in 2019, the Australia Federal Court found the Switzerland-based business engaged in misleading and deceptive behaviour through its Google advertisements, by claiming tickets to certain events were scarce when the scarcity referred only to the availability of tickets on its own resale platform.

Following waves of campaigns against the service, the Australian Federal Court found that Viagogo AG had made “misleading representations” and “engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public”, directly breaching Australian Consumer Law, with Justice Burley noting that some of Viagogo’s bogus claims were made “on an industrial scale.”

The case “was about bad behaviour by an international ticket reseller that deliberately misled thousands of Australian consumers about the price they would have to pay for tickets and falsely represented that those consumers were purchasing tickets from an official site,” comments ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver following the latest development in the Full Court.

With its nonsense inventory and top billing on Google searches, Viagogo became concert promoters’ enemy No. 1, as Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment and the domestic peak bodies for live entertainment went after the brand.

The courts saw it that way too. The Federal Court had earlier noted how Viagogo attracted a number of claims which saw consumers reeled in with promises of a headline price, but failing to disclose additional fees, including a 27.6% booking fee in most cases, a decision that was upheld last week by the Full Court.

Also, the Court last week upheld previous orders made against Viagogo relating to compliance program, publication orders, and an injunction.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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