Viagogo has legal win in New Zealand on technicality
Controversial online ticket reseller Viagogo has had a legal win in New Zealand.
Its Commerce Commission tried to slap an injunction to force the platform to change its business practices.
Commerce Commission, affectionately referred to as Comm Comm, says it received 600 complaints, making it the most complained-about business over the past 18 months.
It told the Auckland High Court that Viagogo would claim tickets to a certain event were almost sold out, when they were not, was not transparent about price commissions, and sold tickets that proved to be invalid.
It also claimed to be “an official ticket seller for events in New Zealand” when it was not.
However, Judge Patricia Courtney refused to grant an injunction, pointing out that Viagogo had not been formally served, and hence could not argue its case.
Therefore, she had no jurisdiction over the case, she ruled.
Viagogo has called the decision “a significant legal victory”.
The Commission now must serve Viagogo in its home base of Switzerland – which it said will take “six months”.
Even when that happens, the ticket seller intends to take on New Zealand authorities over its behaviour.
Viagogo’s New Zealand lawyer Aaron Lloyd told Judge Courtney that even when formally served, it would argue that the Court had no jurisdiction over the company, which is based in Switzerland, does business online, and has no New Zealand office.
Crown lawyer Nick Flanagan alleged Viagogo was guilty of “extensive fraudulent behaviour – and the evidence is that it continues to the present time.”
Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi is also trying to get his Cabinet colleagues to change the law regarding scalping.
Existing law, brought in for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, deems scalping can only be stopped at “major events”.
Faafoi argues that it is used effectively for sporting events with fines of up to NZ$5000 but most concerts and other events are considered too small to be covered.
The concern comes as Elton John’s tickets become much sought after and being resold at high prices.
Full statement from Viagogo:
“We are pleased by the Court’s ruling to deny the Commission’s application for relief.
This is a significant legal victory for viagogo.
For over a decade, millions of customers have been successfully using viagogo which is why we remain committed to providing a secure platform for people to sell as well as buy sport, music and entertainment tickets to events in New Zealand and all over the world.”