UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has again called on Google to target resale sites offering tickets at inflated prices following the competition watchdog’s threat of further legal action against Viagogo.
Dugher said the world’s most popular search engine should do more to promote primary ticket sales and constrain resale sites, naming Viagogo.
The head of the UK music industry’s leading trade group backed the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) in its warning last week that it will recommend contempt of court proceedings against Viagogo unless it makes further changes to how it sells tickets.
Should Viagogo be found to be in contempt of court it is arguable that Google would be violating its own rules by allowing Viagogo to advertise. Its rules stress that companies who buy prominence in search results via Google’s pay-per-click AdWords service must “comply with local laws”.
Dugher said: “News that the CMA is proceeding with legal action against Viagogo is welcome and a timely reminder that music fans should avoid getting tickets from this website which continues to rip off music fans.
“Equally, it’s high time Google stopped putting Viagogo at the top of their search engine when customers are looking for tickets, when they could instead be directed towards legitimate, lower primary ticket sales.
“UK Music, the FanFair Alliance and cross-party MPs have long campaigned for action against exploitative secondary ticketing providers.
“We urge the courts to join us and say no to Viagogo.”
Dugher’s new plea to Google follows similar calls by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ticket Abuse, campaign group FanFair Alliance and the Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers (STAR) in the last 12 months.
In a statement issued last week the CMA said it will move forward with legal action against the secondary ticketing site following several warnings that it had not done enough to overhaul the way it presents information on its website to come into compliance with UK consumer protection law following a court order issued in November 2018.
The CMA said that while improvements have been made, Viagogo’s website still uses misleading ticket availability messages and its warnings that tickets with resale restrictions may not guarantee entry to an event do not meet the requirements of the court order.
In addition, the CMA claims that some seat numbers are not being displayed on the website as required and, in some cases, incomplete addresses of businesses selling tickets are being displayed to consumers.
In a statement issued to TheTicketingBusiness, Viagogo denied it is failing to comply with UK consumer protection laws.
A Viagogo spokesperson said: “We have recently completed a third party review which has given us approval that we are reaching compliance with the requirements.
“It is important to note that no contempt of court has actually been filed against us at this time, and per the protocol of the order we have until the 18th July to respond to the CMA’s concerns.”