Industry News

Viagogo could face prosecution over fees

Viagogo has been referred to National Trading Standards and could face a prosecution after failing to comply with the advertising watchdog’s transparency criteria.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claims that the controversial secondary ticketing firm is continuing to use misleading pricing after its deadline to make changes to its website by May 29 passed.

Viagogo could face hefty fines and prosecution for continuing to be unclear about its extra booking fees and delivery charges added on at the end.

In a statement, the ASA said: “As of today, we are not satisfied that Viagogo has brought its website in line with the advertising rules. The ASA made clear to Viagogo that if changes were not made it would consider imposing further sanctions, including referring them to its legal backstop power, National Trading Standards, for consideration of statutory sanctions, which can involve prosecution and fines.”

Guy Parker, chief executive of the watchdog, added: “Viagogo was given clear warning and handed the opportunity to play fair with consumers by removing misleading pricing information from its website; its failure to do so means it will now face the consequences.

“Where an advertiser or business is unwilling or unable to follow the advertising rules, we will act.”

In addition, the ASA’s Compliance team will also implement concurrent sanctions – including working with Google on non-compliant Viagogo pay-per-click advertising, and issuing their own pay-per-click advertising to highlight Viagogo’s non-compliance.

Adam Webb, campaign manager for FanFair Alliance, said: “This is yet another step towards forcing the biggest ticket resale sites to follow UK consumer law and stop their misleading marketing practices.

“We’ll need some time to assess the full impact of today’s ASA announcement – but perhaps the most positive result for fans would be if Google and other search engines exhibited corporate responsibility and stopped taking Viagogo’s advertising spend.

“Cutting them off from search would dramatically transform this market, and help audiences locate face value tickets from authorised sellers.”

Yesterday (Wednesday), it was reported that StubHub UK changed the way it displays its ticket prices after the ASA took a stand against drip pricing earlier this year.

StubHub UK users will now see the full ticket price displayed, including all fees. While the firm always had an option to reveal the full price, StubHub will make it much clearer on the page.

Image: Soumil Koumar