The €1m (£894,400/$1.13m) fine levied against Viagogo by the Italian competition regulator AGCM has been overruled and nullified by the country’s highest administrative court.
In April 2017, the Autorita’ Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) imposed a €300,000 fine on the controversial ticketing resale site claiming that it was harming consumers by failing to indicate the face value of a ticket being resold, the seat number of the ticket and misleading people on the total ticket price. A year later it bumped the fine up to €1m due to non-compliance.
Following an appeal by Viagogo, the Council of State – which scrutinises the legality of public administration in Italy – has ruled in favour of the secondary ticketing firm, calling it a “passive hosting provider,” meaning it is not obliged to publish or control information in the possession of third parties.
It also ruled in favour of Viagogo’s use of the term ‘official site’ on its website and in Google’s search results, stating that it would be a “legitimate use of a distinctive sign of your business.”
In a statement issued to TheTicketingBusiness, Viagogo’s Cris Miller said: “We welcome this landmark judgment from Italy’s highest administrative court. We have always sought an open dialogue with the AGCM to ensure we are compliant with Italian consumer law.
“We look forward to continuing discussions about the positive role Viagogo plays in Italy and around the world through our platform, which connects sellers and buyers, making it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to have access to events that would otherwise not be accessible due to the limited number of tickets made available through event organisers and managers.”
The Council of State has also annulled the decisions of the AGCM with respect to conduct around claims of scarcity of tickets, the information on its role as intermediary, and allegations relating to so-called ‘drip pricing’.
Earlier this week, Italian primary ticketing service TicketOne threatened to take action against AGCM, the country’s competition regulator, unless it enforces laws designed to constrain the secondary market.
In a formal letter to AGCM, the CTS Eventim-owned ticketing firm has warned it will refer the watchdog to Italy’s Judicial Authority for the “failure” to implement laws that tackle touting.