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FanFair still holds ‘serious concerns’ over Viagogo

UK anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance said it still has “serious concerns” about Viagogo despite the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) decision to halt the threat of legal action against the resale site.

Yesterday (Thursday), the CMA 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.”

However, Adam Webb, the campaign manager for FanFair Alliance, told TheTicketingBusiness he still holds “serious concerns that Viagogo remains non-compliant with a range of consumer protection laws,” though has yet to elaborate what exactly those concerns are.

Webb told TheTicketingBusiness after learning the CMA had dropped the court action: “Today’s announcement was a bolt from the blue, and we need time to assess its ramifications.

“Clearly, the CMA have led in undertaking some important work in bringing Viagogo to heel. The site is far more transparent than it was in December 2016, when their enforcement investigation began.

“However, even leaving aside its historic abuses of UK audiences, which are serious, extensive and well documented, we still hold serious concerns that Viagogo remains non-compliant with a range of consumer protection laws. We continue to share these concerns with the CMA on a regular basis.

“And there’s the rub. Having gone to the cost and effort of serving Viagogo with a court order, it certainly feels disappointing that our regulator is apparently relinquishing its considerable efforts and not finishing the job.”

The CMA told TheTicketingBusiness that in order to pursue complaints about Viagogo, from FanFair Alliance or other parties, there needs to be evidence highlighting a breach in the court order.

The spokesperson added that the court order is specific and breaches cannot be seen from the front end, which is why it conducted an independent review. A further independent review of the ticketing site’s compliance with the court order will be completed in October this year.

A CMA spokesperson said: “We’ve carried out extensive checks of Viagogo’s website and are satisfied they have addressed the concerns we raised with them in July. If fresh evidence demonstrates Viagogo is not complying with the court order then the CMA will not hesitate to take further action – through the courts if necessary.”

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.

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