Touts are responsible for almost 90 per cent of ticket listings on Viagogo, according to an investigation by the Daily Record.
The Scottish newspaper looked at 25 major upcoming gigs at Scotland’s biggest venue, the 13,000-capacity SSE Hydro, and found that official traders offered 2,030 passes, or 89 per cent, out of a total 2,277, while only 247 were listed by fans.
It found that 119 different scalpers were posting tickets on Viagogo, with only 13 of them registered in Scotland. Eighty, or 67 per cent, came from elsewhere in the UK, while the other 26 were registered outside the UK in Dubai, the Ukraine and the US.
After a long-running and on-going battle with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Viagogo now requires each seller to list an address or phone number. However, the Record found that the controversial ticketing resale site only provides customers with this information towards the end of the sales process, after customers have entered card details.
It also noted that many of the addresses were for PO Boxes or used trading names that do not correspond with any UK-listed companies.
Following pressure from the CMA, Viagogo now places a star icon next to known traders, which is defined as someone selling more than 100 tickets per year.
Adam Webb, founder of anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance, said the findings call into question Viagogo’s claims to being a ‘peer-to-peer’ resale site.
He told the Daily Record: “This snapshot offers irrefutable proof that Viagogo is not a fan-to-fan marketplace.
“In fact, there appears to be hardly any fans using the site. Around 90 per cent of tickets at the 25 shows we looked at were listed by “traders”, many based overseas and most of them untraceable.
“We have real concerns that such practices constitute a breach of consumer law. The directors need to be called to account. In fact, the directors should already be in court.”
A Viagogo spokesperson told TheTicketingBusiness.com: “Viagogo is a secondary ticketing marketplace which provides people with access to tickets for events usually closed to them, owing to the limited number of tickets released through the primary market, from a broad range of sellers.
“Tickets usually sell very quickly on Viagogo and with many people only having one or two to sell, for an event they can no longer attend, they go quickly and the listing isn’t online for long.
“Traders tend to list more tickets and therefore have more listings on the site for longer. It is also important to note that the vast majority of tickets on our platform sell for at or around face value. In our experience where tickets are incorrectly priced, too high, they tend not to sell and those are the ones still on the site.”
In November 2017, the CMA announced enforcement action against four major secondary ticketing websites – Viagogo, GetMeIn, Seatwave and StubHub. While three of the companies complied, Viagogo missed the deadline and was threatened with court, fines and prison time for its executives.
As recently as March 2019, the watchdog said it was ready to take legal action against the resale site as it allegedly remained non-compliant with a court order served in November 2018.
Last month, it was announced that the CMA could be given new powers to tackle consumer law without having to go through the courts. Under plans unveiled by Business Secretary Greg Clark today (Tuesday), the UK government will consult on giving the competition watchdog new powers to intervene earlier and would include being able to directly impose fines on firms for poor business behaviour.