Industry News

UK watchdog threatens Viagogo as rivals comply

The UK’s competition watchdog has threatened Viagogo with court action after announcing the three other major resale sites have formally committed to improving the information they share with consumers.

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) said today that StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave have pledged to make it clear whether there is a risk a customer might turned away at the door, which seat in the venue the customer will get, and who is selling the ticket, so that the customer can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business.

The move is building on alterations the sites already made during the course of the CMA’s long-running investigation into the resale sector.

The CMA also approached Viagogo, but said it has not currently agreed to make any of the necessary changes put forward by the watchdog.

Michael Grenfell, the CMA’s executive director for enforcement, said: “Thousands of people use secondary ticketing websites to buy tickets for concerts, theatre and other events. So it’s crucial they are told what they are buying, from whom they are buying it, and whether their ticket might not actually get them into the event.

“We welcome the changes already made and new commitments we’ve been given by StubHub, Seatwave and GetMeIn! to improve the information on offer, so that people can better judge whether they’re getting a good deal.

“But all secondary ticketing websites must play by the rules and treat their customers fairly if anything goes wrong. We take failure to comply with consumer protection law very seriously.

“So far Viagogo has failed to address our concerns, and we are determined to ensure they comply with the law. We are prepared to use the full range of our powers to protect customers – including action through the courts.”

In November, the CMA said it was to take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law after the completion of an investigation into the sector.

The CMA said it gathered evidence, which it considers reveals breaches of the law, and identified “widespread concerns” about the information consumers are given.

Viagogo and StubHub had their offices raided, by the National Trading Standards, which has been working with the CMA, as part of the investigation.

Adam Webb, campaign manager for FanFair Alliance, said: “Today’s CMA announcement is vindication for the FanFair Alliance campaign to overhaul the online ticket resale market. UK audiences have been taken for a ride for too long by the biggest secondary platforms and the dedicated touts who fuel their business.

“They will now be forced to dramatically change their practices and provide proper transparency. This cannot come soon enough.

“It is disappointing, though hardly unexpected, that Viagogo continue to flout the law and mislead the British public. If they fail to follow their competitors and make similar commitments, then we expect to see prosecution for non-compliance at the earliest opportunity.”

Image: Pxhere