CONTROVERSIAL RESALE website Viagogo has snubbed MPs for a second time, after failing to attend a Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee hearing into ticketing on 5 September.
In a letter to committee chair Damian Collins late the night before, Viagogo cited a potential conflict between Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) court action against the company, and its intention to sue promoter Stuart Galbraith and his company Kilimanjaro Live.
The CMA has issued High Court proceedings against Viagogo over concerns it is breaking consumer protection law.
“People who buy tickets on websites like Viagogo must be given all the information they are entitled to,” said CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli. “It’s imperative they know key facts, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event, before parting with their hard-earned money.”
The CMA said it is also seeking an interim enforcement order from the court that, if successful, will put a stop to some of Viagogo’s practices during the period leading up to the trial.
In what many see as an attempt to muddy the waters, Viagogo says it is taking legal action against Galbraith and Kilimanjaro for “defrauding thousands of fans out of several million pounds on Ed Sheeran’s recent 2017 tour” due to the cancellation of resold tickets.
The court action was filed in Germany, where Kilimanjaro’s majority owner Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) is based. Viagogo declined to comment on whose behalf the action is being taken, itself, its buyers or sellers, and why it is being lodged in Germany. Neither DEAG or Kilimanjaro promoted Sheeran’s German concerts.
“The claims made by Viagogo are ludicrous, laughable and, most importantly, totally false,” says Galbraith, claiming it was a transparent attempt by Viagogo to deflect attention from troubles elsewhere
Collins said at the DCMS hearing, “This meeting is all about telling the truth, and I believe Viagogo did not attend because they thought there was a risk of incriminating themselves,” said Collins.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Viagogo is preparing to move much of its UK operation to New York. In 2012, as the company looked like losing a court case brought by the Rugby Football Union, set for trial that November, it liquidated its UK business and moved its headquarters to Geneva.
Also see news-feature on pages 14-15