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CMA drops Viagogo court action claiming full compliance

The UK’s competition regulator has suspended preparations for court action against Viagogo after the controversial resale company finally made its ticketing information transparent to customers.

The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has ruled that Viagogo has now addressed its outstanding concerns about how it presents important information to its customers, claiming it is “worlds apart from the one they faced before the CMA took action.”

The UK watchdog’s chief executive Andrea Coscelli said it would continue to “keep up the pressure” on Viagogo to ensure its ongoing compliance with consumer protection law.

In July, the CMA moved forward with legal action for contempt of court 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.

At the time, the CMA claimed that while improvements had been made, Viagogo’s website still used misleading ticket availability messages and its warnings that tickets with resale restrictions may not guarantee entry to an event did not meet the requirements of the court order.

In addition, the CMA claimed that some seat numbers were not being displayed on the website as required and, in some cases, incomplete addresses of businesses selling tickets were being displayed to consumers.

Coscelli said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon: “The Viagogo website UK customers now visit is worlds apart from the one they faced before the CMA took action. Key information needed to make informed decisions before buying a ticket is now much clearer including on where you’ll sit in a venue and whether you might be turned away at the door.

“What is clearly not acceptable is the time it’s taken to get to this stage. Stronger consumer powers are required in the secondary ticketing sector and we will continue to work with the Government on the most effective way to achieve this.

“A key part will be the Government’s existing plans to give the CMA stronger consumer protection powers, so that it can rule on whether a company has broken the law and impose fines on those infringing companies.

“We will keep up the pressure on Viagogo to ensure that it continues to comply with UK consumer protection law.”

A further independent review of the ticketing site’s compliance with the court order will be completed in October this year. The CMA told consumers that if the results of the review suggests the company is not meeting its obligations then the body will not hesitate to take further action – “through the courts if necessary.”

A Viagogo spokesperson told TheTicketingBusiness.com: “Viagogo is pleased it has been able to work with the CMA to find solutions to the final few areas of discussion, as confirmed by today’s statement. We have strived at all times to ensure we are correctly applying the CMA order, this has been a complex and detailed process, and open dialogue with the market authority has been essential.

“We are grateful to the CMA for their engagement over the past few months and the ability of both parties to work collaboratively to reach this point. Looking ahead we will continue to work with them to ensure we are delivering the best possible service for our customers and challenging the wider ticketing market to raise its standards in the interests of all in the live event world.”

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