Viagogo has claimed victory in its legal battle with the UK’s competition regulator after the High Court ruled it is compliant with consumer law.
Viagogo said the ruling confirmed its compliance with the order it agreed to with the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) regarding display of face value prices on its UK website.
However, TheTicketingBusiness understands that the judgement does not affect the CMA’s threat of contempt of court proceedings issued earlier this month. Interestingly, the Viagogo statement focuses on compliance over the display of ‘face value’ but not other issues raised previously by the regulator, such as resale restrictions.
Today’s judgement, which was awarded in London, came after Viagogo had sought declaratory relief from the court on whether the manner in which Viagogo displays face value on its UK website complies with the November 2018 order.
Viagogo said it sought an outside measure to obtain a legally binding interpretation of the order from a neutral arbiter, after the CMA “falsely insisted that Viagogo was in breach” and discussions between the parties could not settle the matter.
Speaking on the decision, Cris Miller, managing director of Viagogo, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this hearing.
“We always strive for a close and effective relationship with market regulators, but this hearing further demonstrates that there are matters of interpretation of the order on which the CMA should not and cannot be relied upon to make the final determination.
“We originally disagreed with the CMA on this, and today’s announcement validates our position and demonstrates clearly the necessity of being able to challenge the CMA’s authority.”
Miller was scathing of the regulator’s attitude towards his company following years of legal wrangles.
“It is clear there remains continued, yet unfounded resistance from the CMA to our role in the market,” he said.
“Regardless, we are hopeful that now we can focus on the platform and the millions of consumers who rely on it.”
The CMA has yet to respond publicly to Viagogo’s interpretation of today’s ruling. It is also unclear how the ruling will impact the company’s advertising ban on Google, which was issued yesterday.
Responding to the Google ban, a Viagogo spokesperson said: “We were extremely surprised to learn of Google’s concerns today. We are confident that there has been no breach of Google’s policies and look forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
In a statement issued earlier this month the CMA said it would 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 claimed that some seat numbers are not being displayed on the website as required and, in some cases, incomplete addresses of businesses selling tickets were being displayed to consumers.
Image: Elliott Brown (Flickr)