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Viagogo snubs parliament again

Viagogo has once again refused to show up to a hearing on secondary ticketing in UK Parliament, citing the legal action the firm is taking against Kilimanjaro Live.

Viagogo reportedly wrote to the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Damian Collins MP, to say that its head of business development and sales, Christopher Miller, would be unable to give evidence before the Committee, stating that it feared any statements could be used against Viagogo in its upcoming legal proceedings.

The move is the second time the resale company has failed to appear in front of MPs for a DCMS evidence session after last year’s Committee hearing no-show.

Collins responded to the announcement and said: “We do not accept Viagogo’s arguments for failing to appear today. Mr Miller has no valid reason not to attend and answer our questions on secondary ticketing. The session does not fall within the scope of the House’s sub judice resolution, and the CMA has no objection to the session taking place. As is usual we would take great care not to discuss issues to do with the future court case.

“Consumers deserve answers to the huge volume of concerns about secondary ticketing abuse. It is hard not to view this eleventh hour withdrawal cynically. Viagogo’s non-attendance is a gross discourtesy, the more so given the company’s failure to attend last year. If Mr Miller fails to appear his place will be set out and the questions put, involving much public embarrassment, and the disappointment of consumers and users who expect answers.”

Earlier this week, it was announced that the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) 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.

According to Pollstar, the company’s lawyers had asked the CMA, to assure Viagogo “that it would not consider any statement made by Viagogo in the hearing to constitute a breach of any of its non-disclosure provisions, or a waiver of its without prejudice privilege in the context of the CMA investigation.”

The firm is looking to protect itself against anything being said in the parliamentary hearing to be used against the company in court.

Meanwhile, Skiddle’s co-founder has spoken out about the no-show, stating he is “disgusted” though “unsurprised.”

Ben Sebborn said: “We have been watching today’s DCMS Committee session on live music with interest and are disgusted, but entirely unsurprised that Viagogo decided not to attend. Whilst we are pleased frank discussions are being had around ending consumer exploitation in the for-profit secondary ticketing market; we firmly believe that until Viagogo is made an example of and is forced to cease trading, the ticketing industry will continue to be blighted by their very existence.

“We agree with the Committee and industry experts that advances in technology are the only way to stop touting and for-profit ticketing. Skiddle have placed themselves at the forefront of this innovation as the only Primary outlet currently offering a refund policy. We also introduced our face value reselling platform in 2016, and implement mobile only ticketing and other preventative measures for tout-prone events.”

Image: Maurice