‘Victim of Viagogo’, a Facebook campaign group set up to help those that claim to have been duped by the secondary ticketing marketplace, has reclaimed more than £100,000 ($130,000/€110,000) for disgruntled customers.
The group, established by Oxford-based Claire Turnham, who was herself a victim, has partnered with the UK anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance to produce a free self help guide for people seeking refunds from Viagogo and other resale platforms.
Turnham, said: “If you are distressed and desperately seeking a refund, I urge you to persevere. It’s not an easy process but it is possible to reclaim your money back. Keep referring to our self-help guide and connect with others for support.”
In addition to this, the BBC’s ‘Watchdog’ last week investigated the country’s estimated £1bn per annum secondary market, which raised more questions about the business practices of Viagogo and its competition. The show interviewed customers that have suffered from being mis-sold tickets from Viagogo and have struggled to gain refunds.
Watchdog also underlined the secondary platform’s unorthodox marketing techniques, as well as clarifying that Viagogo’s interpretation of UK consumer law is “incorrect.”
Viagogo recently came under investigation by the Irish Advertising Standards Authority for potentially overstepping advertising rules through its ticket promotions on Google.
Last month, FanFair claimed that secondary ticketing platforms are misleading would-be ticket buyers by consistently securing top search engine results. It also presents itself on Google as an official site, despite its secondary reseller status, while also prominently placing artists’ names in its URLs and promoting bogus price comparison websites that frequently default to Viagogo.
Research by ‘Which?’ found that approximately half of people who purchased tickets on secondary sites believed that they were buying from the official ticket seller, leading FanFair to seek out Turnham’s help through a partnership with Victim of Viagogo.
Adam Webb, campaign manager for FanFair Alliance said: “A properly-functioning secondary market should work in the interests of consumers, and enable those who genuinely need to resell a ticket to do so at the price they paid for it.
“However, as was highlighted by BBC1’s Watchdog, the business model promoted by Viagogo looks more about profiteering at the audiences’ expense – persistently masquerading as an “official site” in its online advertising, employing high-pressure sales techniques and potentially breaching consumer law.
“Unfortunately, we continue to hear from ticket-buyers who are extremely frustrated when seeking redress from Viagogo, which is why FanFair has teamed up with Claire Turnham to produce some comprehensive guidance to help them secure a refund.
“This is not an easy process, but having been supported by Ed Sheeran’s management and promoters, we are please to report that Claire’s advice is already proving useful – with the more customer-friendly banks issuing more than £45,000 in chargebacks in less than a month.”
Earlier this year, Turnham attempted to purchase four tickets for an Ed Sheeran concert for her family and after being unable to get any from the official site or established primary vendors, she was redirected to Viagogo after a Google search. She was charged more then £1,400 for the set, which should have had a maximum total face value of £300.
In March, Turnham appeared before the Parliamentary hearing on the secondary ticketing sector to speak about her campaign. Viagogo failed to send a representative, despite having received an invite to appear, which led one committee member to say the company has a “lack of respect to parliament and, by extension, the British public.”