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‘Significant changes’ see ASA drop Viagogo complaint

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dropped a complaint against Viagogo after stating that it has secured pricing changes to the company’s business model that satisfy its concerns.

The ASA had referred Viagogo to National Trading Standards (NTS), claiming that the resale platform had failed to comply with the advertising watchdog’s transparency criteria.

The ASA had ruled that Viagogo was misleading consumers by not being upfront and clear about additional booking fees and VAT that were added throughout the booking process. Since then, the Authority has worked with Viagogo to bring about “material changes” to its website.

The ASA said pricing information will now be made clear with one single price, containing both VAT and the compulsory booking fee, quoted upfront at the start of the consumer’s journey.

The Authority said in a statement: “We can confirm we are now satisfied that Viagogo’s pricing information follows the advertising rules. Consequently, due to the significant changes that have been made, we’ve removed all active sanctions we had in place, including withdrawing our referral of Viagogo to National Trading Standards (NTS).”

However, the ASA stressed that its decision to withdraw sanctions and a referral to NTS is without prejudice to the court proceedings launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on August 31.

The CMA last week announced it is taking Viagogo to court for allegedly breaking consumer protection laws.

The watchdog said that the resale website had failed to make sufficient changes, following previous warnings, to bring it in line with regulations.

The CMA initiated enforcement action against four resale platforms in November 2017 following a probe into the secondary ticketing industry.

GetMeIn, Seatwave and StubHub made the necessary changes, but the CMA said in a statement on Friday that Viagogo had continued to contravene the law by failing to tell customers there is a risk they could be turned away at the door of events, due to restrictions placed on some resold tickets.

The regulator added that customers are also not being given sufficient information about the seat they will secure, while the watchdog also cited misleading information about ticket availability, amongst other issues.

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