THE COMPETITION and Markets Authority (CMA) is prepared to take controversial ticket resale website Viagogo to court after it failed to join the other three operators in what is known as the Big Four, by pledging to make transactions more transparent.
The CMA says it has gained legally-binding undertakings from eBay-owned StubHub and Tidketmaster-owned Seatwave and Get Me In! to ensure all ticket listings clearly show the seat number, the identity of the ticket seller, and whether there is a risk a customer might be turned away at the door.
The competition watchdog has given the three nine months to make the necessary changes.
“So far Viagogo has failed to address our concerns, and we are determined to ensure they comply with the law,” says CMA executive director of enforcement Michael Grenfell.
“We are prepared to use the full range of our powers to protect customers, including action through the courts.”
The new regulations not only make it mandatory for sellers to provide the required information when listing a ticket, the re-sale platforms must routinely carry out checks on primary ticket sellers’ websites about resale restrictions and act promptly if event organisers tell them information is missing.
The CMA says, following Viagogo’s historic failure to comply with a commitment given in 2015 and to the latest round of demands, it may initiate legal proceedings unless Viagogo fails to prompt action to address its concerns.
“It is disappointing, though hardly unexpected, that Viagogo continues to flout the law and mislead the British public,” says FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb. “If they fail to follow their competitors and make similar commitments, then we expect to see prosecution for non-compliance at the earliest opportunity.”
In November last year CMA officials raided the London offices of StubHub and Viagogo to seize data relating to their relationship with industrial-scale ticket touts. Viagogo also failed to turn up when summoned to a Culture Media and Sport Select Committee hearing at the House of Commons.