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CMA finally takes legal action against Viagogo

News
24 July 2019

THE COMPETITION & Markets Authority (CMA) is taking legal action against controversial resale platform Viagogo for contempt of court, claiming it has failed to fully comply with a court order served in November 2018.

The order required Viagogo to overhaul its UK website by 17 January, in order to bring it in line with consumer protection law.

The CMA says Viagogo has since made “many positive” changes to its website, and had paid more than £400,000 in refunds to customers, but the Swiss-based operation has not done enough.

“After the CMA repeatedly raised concerns with Viagogo, and also took the time needed to give proper consideration to the findings of an independent review of Viagogo’s compliance, we are very concerned that it still hasn’t done what it was ordered to do,” says CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli.

The CMA says Viagogo has continued to use misleading ticket availability messages, it does not list all relevant seat numbers, includes incomplete seller addresses, and the warning Viagogo provides that tickets with resale restrictions may not get buyers in to an event, does not meet the requirements of the order.

FanFair Alliance (FFA) campaign manager Adam Webb says that while the changes already mean Viagogo’s UK website is now almost unrecognisable from its US one, or any other international iteration, FFA believes Viagogo continues to breach swathes of consumer protection law.

“A prime example is the lack of information provided about the professional “traders” that dominate the site,” says Webb. “Under Consumer Contracts Regulations these suppliers should be made clearly identifiable to the user, to the extent that you can see their name, their business name and their geographic address.

“On Viagogo, not only are potential customers forced to go through the captcha process to even access this information, a majority of the seller identities are either untraceable, incomplete or simply bogus.”

Separately, around 90 per cent of tickets listed on Viagogo are being sold by touts, according to an investigation by Scotland’s Daily Record.

The newspaper examined listings for 25 concerts at The SSE Hydro (cap, 13,000) in Glasgow, and found that only 247 of the 2,277 tickets were listed by fans. It discovered that 119 apparently different touts has listed tickets on Viagogo and that only 13 of them were based in Scotland. The Record report said that 26 were registered outside the UK, as far and wide as Dubai, the Ukraine and the US.

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