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Viagogo has finally been busted, found guilty of “misleading consumers”

Ticket reselling company Viagogo has been found guilty by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for misleading consumers through Google advertisements, charging “extraordinarily high” booking fees and rushing their customers.

Selling second-hand tickets to sporting events, concerts, comedy shows and theatre events, the Swiss-based marketplace came to the attention of the ACCC after a series of complaints, 3500 to be exact.

Photo: Argus Leader

Ticket reselling company Viagogo has been found guilty of misleading consumers and charging ‘extraordinarily high’ booking fees, says ACCC.

Talking about the wave of complaints, chairman of the ACCC said:

“When you’re thinking about just one company, that’s an enormous number…the percentage of people who bother to complain is very small so I think you could be confident that this behaviour affected tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands.”

The company came under fire from the federal court due to their false branding from May-June 2017, misleading consumers by making them think Viagogo was the official ticketing website for various events. This was further affirmed by the company ranking highest when consumers search for tickets on Google, placed above official sites such as Ticketmaster and Ticketek.

Viagogo also failed to outline the additional booking fees associated with purchasing tickets,  with one Victorian woman being charged $104.98 in fees when she booked two tickets to comedy theatre show The Book of Mormon.

On top of all this, the group was found guilty of creating a demand for tickets that didn’t exist and rushing customers through statements such as “only a few tickets left” and “tickets for this event are selling fast”, which were explicitly in the context of their website, not the overall availability of tickets to the event.

Despite these findings, Viagogo stated their disappointment with the ACCC saying:

It does not reflect our current ticketing platform and the many changes we have made. We strongly believe our website is compliant and we will continue to work closely and constructively with the ACCC.

This has been a long time coming for consumers as well as artists, such as much-loved Aussie band  Gang Of Youths who have had to constantly remind their fans to not buy from Viagogo, even modelling ‘Fuck Viagogo’ t-shirts.

As many of you have encountered, Viagogo has become one of the most disgraceful and disruptive scams our live industry has faced in recent years. Viagogo impacts promoters, managers, venues, ticket agencies and most importantly artists and their fans. A number of different bodies over the past 12 months have been talking to both State and Federal Government regarding this issue. There is an opportunity to help eradicate this business from Australia. We are calling for as many examples of how this fraudulent operation has affected your business, additionally, we are encouraging artists to also post on their socials so fans can reply with real-life examples of how they have been affected by Viagogo. We intend to give this documentation to the Opposition Party to form part of their campaign pledge to have this site closed down. It would be greatly appreciated if you could send these examples to [email protected] by Wednesday this week.

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The penalties imposed upon Viagogo by the court will be announced at a later date.

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April 19, 2019