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UK regulator continues legal proceedings against Viagogo

The UK’s competition regulator is continuing its legal action against Viagogo despite the ticketing operator claiming a court victory earlier today (Thursday).

Viagogo said a High Court ruling found it compliant with the order it agreed to with the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) regarding display of face value on its UK website.

The operator did not mention other areas of remaining concern that were expressed by the CMA when it announced earlier this month it is considering contempt of court proceedings, such as warnings that tickets with resale restrictions may not guarantee entry to an event.

Now the CMA has issued a statement confirming that even after today’s ruling there remain areas it believes do not comply with the court order issued against Viagogo last November.

The regulator also said today’s judgement found that Viagogo must change the way it uses ‘hover over text’ if it is to be compliant with last year’s court order.

A CMA spokesperson said: “Today’s judgement does not mean that Viagogo is compliant with the court order the CMA secured against it. We still think that Viagogo is breaching parts of the order and so continue to move forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against the site in relation to those concerns.”

“Importantly, today’s judgement confirms that Viagogo cannot use ‘hover over text’ unless specifically allowed by the order and they need to stop displaying important information about deadlines under its guarantee in this way.

“Although the court found that information about face value prices can be displayed with hover over text on one page of the site, Viagogo must still display this information on two other separate places on the face of its website.”

Viagogo launched a scathing attack on the CMA following today’s court ruling.

Managing director Cris Miller said: “It is clear there remains continued, yet unfounded resistance from the CMA to our role in the market.

“Regardless, we are hopeful that now we can focus on the platform and the millions of consumers who rely on it.”

The court ruling comes just a day after Google issued a global advertising ban on Viagogo. The search engine giant said Viagogo was in breach of its advertising rules.

The move has been welcomed by opponents of the ticketing resale sector.

“This is a hugely significant step — Google is the first port of call for fans searching for gig tickets across the world,” said Sam Shemtob, Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) director.

“The move appears to have been triggered by recent court proceedings led by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority as well as pressure from the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

“It’s worth noting the work of the UK’s FanFair Alliance, Spain’s Association of Music Promoters and French live music industry association PRODISS, who have been engaged in multiple conversations on the issue with Google, some of which date back to 2016.

“We hope other search engines and social media platforms will follow suit.”

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