Industry News

Viagogo under investigation in New Zealand following complaints

Viagogo has become the subject of an investigation by the New Zealand Commerce Commission following hundreds of complaints from the public.

The Switzerland-based secondary ticketing site often lists tickets for many times more than their face value, as well as adding on booking fees.

According to the TVNZ website, Viagogo often shows an “official” tagline in internet searches, leading customers to see the site as a licensed seller.

It also alleged the platform does not declare itself as a reseller, as opposed to a primary ticketing agent, anywhere on its site.

Char Tata told TVNZ that she paid NZ$1500 (£850/€972/$1,085) for three seats to next year’s Bruno Mars (pictured) gig in New Zealand.

She said: “I thought when the sale went through, is he really that much? Is Bruno Mars worth that much?”

After paying the hiked price, Tata discovered the licensed seller, Ticketmaster, had tickets for as little as NZ$99.

“I was really angry. I felt I’d been ripped off and I feel stupid you know. That’s never happened to me before,” she said.

In addition, some customers are finding that they are being charged in European currencies, even though prices are displayed in Australian and New Zealand dollars.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean said: “I think it’s appalling that people are being deceived by a website, and if it’s costing them a lot of money then that’s a real concern to me.”

TVNZ said Viagogo did not respond to requests for comment.

According to TVNZ, undercover footage of the company filmed in 2011 for a British documentary showed Viagogo staff admitting they purchased tickets from Ticketmaster on credit cards using misleading accounts, and then re-sold the tickets for thousands of pounds more.

“Highly, highly immoral – brilliant,” one staff member said of the scam.

Australian consumer rights group CHOICE also filed complaints against reselling websites Ticketmaster Resale and Viagogo over “dodgy pricing practices [and] cheap ticket claims”.

The group has referred the findings of an investigation into the secondary ticketing market to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Meanwhile, Viagogo has been accused of “deceiving” customers by Germany’s consumer protection agency.

The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband, which received complaints about the website in eight German states, said Viagogo had posed as an official seller of the tickets.

In Italy, along with Live Nation and Seatwave, Viagogo has been banned from reselling tickets for this summer’s U2 concerts in the country by a Rome court.

The Civil Court of Rome told the companies they are not allowed to directly or indirectly sell tickets for the July 15 and 16 gigs on the secondary market. They will be fined €2,000 for any tickets that are resold.

Image: Brothers Le