‘A new coat of paint’: LPA unconvinced by Viagogo’s plea
News that Google had reinstated Viagogo as an advertiser was met with a furore from the music industry, and now the resale platform has followed up with a promise to do better.
Viagogo has detailed multiple changes to become compliant with Google’s policies in Australia.
These include clearer pricing information, demand message, supply and availability messaging, and improved customer protection and communication.
In the announcement, Viagogo also said that Australian ticket buyers will be protected by a Viagogo guarantee to replace tickets and offer a refund, acknowledging that in “rare” cases there can be “potential risks”.
Viagogo will also warn customers upon purchase that this risk exists and that tickets may be invalidated by the event organizers where applicable.
Viagogo head of development Cris Miller said the company has “drawn a line in the sand” and better understands “our responsibility as a leader in ticket resale”.
“Our goal is to set the industry standard and ensure all Aussie fans feel safe, secure and confident when accessing tickets they may have missed out on.
“Our aim is to set the standard for the ticket resale market in Australia – to give fans a transparent, safe and secure platform to access tickets they may have missed out on at first release.
“Now, when fans go to our website, they’ll immediately have an accurate estimate of how much a ticket will cost, the ticket price set by the seller, in addition to all fees, delivery expenses, and tax. This provides fans with clear pricing and ticket information early in the online sale.”
Miller went on to talk about the benefits of “a free, open and transparent ticket resale market” but acknowledged “there is still more that the primary and secondary markets could work together to resolve”, claiming that Viagogo is focused on stamping out bots.
He also left a parting shot at primary resellers, “It has been very disappointing to see the primary market misleading customers and cancelling tickets purely on the basis they have been resold.
“This is absolutely unfair for Australians fans. If you can sell your clothes, your car even your house when your circumstances change, why can’t you sell a concert ticket?”
Live Performance Australia has been left unconvinced that Viagogo has changed its ways, having been found guilty by the Federal Court earlier this year for misleading Australian consumers.
LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson called the reseller’s latest announced changes “a load of PR blah.”
Richardson told TMN the changes were all required by regulators: “The point to make is that Viagogo has only been responding to crackdowns from regulators here and overseas.”
Responding to Viagogo’s claim that it wanted to lead the charge against ticketing bots, Richardson pointed out that it and other resale sites are, in fact, part of the problem.
“Sites like Viagogo fuel the ticket bots by providing a resale outlet for them. What have they practically done to stop the bots?
“Our members have made significant investments in combating ticket bots, and led calls for government action to legislate against them. Viagogo’s claim the primary ticket market is not interested in this issue is totally without foundation. The ticket bots thrive because of platforms like Viagogo.
Richardson also pointed to the fact that Viagogo continues to list tickets for concerts that aren’t yet on sale on primary ticketing platforms.
“For all Viagogo’s promises to deliver better customer service, we’d be interested in their explanation as to how they can be promoting tickets for sale which haven’t even been released to original ticket holders yet (see Bon Iver, Dark Mofo).
“Beneath Viagogo’s new coat of paint, the fundamentals of its business model haven’t changed and we continue to urge consumers to stay away.”