NSW Fair Trading opens investigation against Viagogo
Controversial ticket resale platform Viagogo is being investigated by NSW Fair Trading following a new string of consumer complaints.
NSW Fair Trading revealed it had received 36 complaints against Viagogo from the public this year, correlating with the return of mass ticketed events.
16 of the complaints relate to ticket scalping, while 11 stem from the cancellation of events that were not refunded by the platform.
An additional five complaints were generated from the resale platform allegedly misleading customers to believe it was an authorised seller, with three other complaints regarding Viagogo’s failure to deliver tickets in a timely manner.
One complaint was also made against Viagogo for failing to provide age restriction advice to ticketholders.
The majority of the grievances made against Viagogo to NSW Fair Trading in 2021 pertain to the sale of tickets for the popular musical Hamilton, with many ticket prices exceeding the 110% cap.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb was scathing in her remarks against Viagogo’s practises yesterday, highlighting the impacts of such behaviour on the struggling arts and entertainment sector.
“It was big news in 2018 when NSW Fair Trading made ticket scalping illegal by making it an offence for ticket resellers such as Viagogo to charge more than 10% extra on the original ticket price and transactions costs,” Webb said.
“We did briefly see a drop off in complaints, but then we saw a spike at the end of 2019. When the pandemic hit complaints obviously dropped off again as events were not able to go ahead.
“However now that events are back on the agenda, we have seen a spike again and despite Viagogo being explicitly warned and receiving a $7 million fine from the ACCC in 2020, they continue to flout the rules.
“Those within the entertainment and arts industry have been vocal about the obliteration of their industry due to COVID and they do not need the additional stress of ticket resellers scalping well-meaning fans.
“We will be investigating and using our powers to stop any unlawful behaviour.”
News of NSW Fair Trading’s investigation into Viagogo follows on from several other investigations and lawsuits against the contentious ticketing platform.
In 2019, the Federal Court ruled that the Swiss-based company had misled local ticket buyers and breached Australian consumer law.
Last October, Viagogo was ordered by the Federal Court to pay a $7 million penalty, with Justice Stephen Burley accusing the ticket resellers of being “a company that is indifferent to the interests of Australian consumers and which prefers to elevate its own profit motives above those interests, even when on notice of the potential for harm being done”.
Update: A spokesperson from Viagogo has provided the following statement to The Music Network.
“Viagogo has taken prompt action to remove tickets from our platform that do not comply with the state’s regulatory regime.
“Viagogo is committed to complying with legislation in all markets we operate in, including NSW, and when we are notified of listings that are not compliant, we act quickly to remove them.
“We look forward to continuing to productively engage with regulators to ensure that our website is compliant and the safe and transparent marketplace we offer continues to help customers gain access to events worldwide.”