Viagogo’s decision to hire more than 20 new staff in the UK has been criticised by MPs leading a crusade against the ticketing operator and other resellers.
In the latest evidence of Viagogo’s toxicity in the UK, the company’s decision to recruit for its London and Birmingham offices led to a splash in the Sun newspaper. Critics of the sector said that more employees could mean Switzerland-headquartered Viagogo would be “fleecing more people”.
The jobs on offer range from engineering to business development, operations and sales.
The company has been the leading focus for opponents of the secondary ticketing market because of its aggressive advertising and its involvement in a number of scandals, such as its failure to attend last year’s Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee hearing into abuse of the secondary ticketing market.
It was also accused of paying just £2,300 in tax on sales of £5.2m in an expose in the Sun last year. MPs Sharon Hodgson and Nigel Adams were among a group threatened with arrest after attempting to confront Viagogo executives at the company’s London office on Fenchurch Street last year (below).
Discussing the recruitment drive, MP Hodgson, co-chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Ticket Abuse, told the Sun: “What on earth are they planning now? Fleecing more people? I can’t see how this will be good news for consumers.
“We hope they will try to make good and change their ways – but if it is more of what we’ve seen already, there will just be more victims.”
It is thought that Viagogo employed more than 30 people in the UK last year.
MP Chris Bryant told the Sun that music fans would be “fuming” at the news that it was looking to hire more.
He told the Sun: “Companies like this spend all their time trying to get around the rules and the law to rip off punters.
“It’s not as if this adds a single penny to the musicians, the singers, the people who run the arts venues, nor a single jot of pleasure to all the fans.
“It’s just a parasitical leeching off people’s loyalty.”
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IMAGE: MPs Nigel Adams (left) and Sharon Hodgson with Stuart Galbraith and Adam Webb outside the Viagogo offices in London. Photograph: Corinne Chinnici