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Viagogo accused of ‘affront to the law’

News
23 January 2019

CONTROVERSIAL SECONDARY ticketing website Viagogo has been accused of breaching a court order, by anti-touting campaigners.

Secured by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) last year, the order required Viagogo to overhaul its business model and comply with a range of consumer protection legislation by 18 January.

The CMA has yet to pass judgement and, while Viagogo claims it is compliant, FanFair Alliance (FFA) campaign manager Adam Webb says the organisation “would be astonished if the site is compliant with the terms of its court order”.

Speaking to LIVE UK, a CMA spokesman says, “We are now undertaking our own checks of Viagogo and, if we find breaches of the court order, we will not hesitate to take action.

“This could include pursuing rapid action through the courts.”

He adds that “a wide-ranging, independent, review of Viagogo will also be conducted to make sure all the changes required have been made” and that it will report back to the CMA.

However, despite the ongoing CMA assessment, Viagogo, which moved its headquarters from London to Geneva several years ago, is insistent that it is now complying with the terms of the court order.

“Further to the agreement we reached with the CMA, we have met the deadline and are now compliant,” a company spokesman says.

“All tickets on Viagogo are valid and it is perfectly legal to resell a ticket or give it to someone else if you want to.”

But campaigners have accused the company of breaching the order.

“Although a few minor changes have been implemented, some of which may add even more confusion for consumers, we would be astonished if the site is compliant with the terms of its court order,” says FFA’s Webb.

“Its practices are an affront to audiences, to artistes and to the law. We feel the CMA must now step up and take urgent action.”

This was supported by Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, and chair woman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse (APPG).

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, to find this morning that Viagogo has not made any drastic changes to its unscrupulous practices that rip-off fans,” she says.

“For years, Viagogo have acted in blatant disregard of consumer protection legislation. It is time that the CMA takes serious and urgent action, so that even more genuine fans don’t become victims of this company.”

As part of the court order, Viagogo is paying for an independent review into its refund records dating back to January 2016.

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

The court order also requires it to fund an independent party to monitor its website over the next five years, to ensure it complies with the order.

The next APPG meeting takes place on 29 January, with CMA project director Jon Riley and legal director David Perry present to discuss its progress.

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