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Court order forces Viagogo to fund customer refunds review

18 December 2018

CONTROVERSIAL RESALE website Viagogo must review all refunds provided in the past three years for iregulatities, after being slapped with a court order secured by the UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA).

The firm will have to pay for an independent review into its refund records dating back to January 2016, following a hearing at the High Court of Justice on 27 November.

Customers who buy tickets on the Viagogo site are “guaranteed” that the company will “step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund” if problems arise.

The company will have to contact customers itself and rectify any refund claims that it incorrectly rejected or only paid in-part.

Viagogo has not responded to LIVE UK’s request for comment.

The CMA initiated legal proceedings against the Swiss-registered company in August, over concerns it was breaking consumer protection law.

In addition to the refunds review, Judge Sir Christopher Nugee ordered Viagogo to:

  • Tell ticket purchasers if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door.
  • Inform customers which seats they will be allocated.
  • Provide information about the ticket seller.
  • Not give misleading information about the availability or popularity of events.
  • Make it easier for buyers to obtain refunds when things go wrong.
  • Prevent the sale of tickets a seller does not own or may be unable to supply.

Viagogo must also appoint an independent party to monitor its website over the next five years to ensure it complies with the order, the CMA has confirmed

As with the independent refunds review, this will be funded entirely by Viagogo, although no appointment has been made for either role so far.

“This court order is a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through Viagogo,” says CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli, adding that the company has agreed to a “overhaul of its site” to ensure it is giving customers a “fair deal”.

If Viagogo fails to comply with the order by mid-January, the company could face fines and those responsible could receive prison sentences.

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, described it as “shocking” that it has taken a court order for Viagogo to comply with the law.

“I would question whether a company that has created thousands of victims and now requires independent monitoring to ensure it complies with UK legislation, should be allowed to continue to operate given the risk to consumers,” she says.

FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb adds, “While the UK’s ticket resale market undergoes a long-awaited transformation, Viagogo has effectively become a rogue operator.

“That it’s required a court order to force their compliance with existing legislation is nothing short of extraordinary.”

Viagogo described the court order on Twitter as a “ground-breaking settlement”.

A spokesman for the company says, “We are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement that provides even greater transparency to consumers.”

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