New Zealand ticketing company iTICKET has urged ticket buyers to avoid Viagogo after reportedly seeing complaints skyrocket when live events kicked off again in the country.

iTICKET, which is the ticket seller for The Great Moscow Circus, which is currently touring the North Island, has been actively blocking overseas credit card purchasers who are allegedly attempting to buy tickets for reselling on Viagogo at inflated prices.

The company’s director Reece Preston said: “We have seen an increase in complaints and customers being ripped off to the tune of hundreds of dollars each by Viagogo.

“Unfortunately it seems as if Viagogo has now caught on to the fact that we are one of the few countries in the world holding events of scale, due to our privileged COVID-19 status.”

He said he wants to increase public awareness about Viagogo and direct people to purchase tickets through official NZ ticket sellers.

“These purchasers are clearly agents of Viagogo and not genuine customers wanting to resell tickets,” Preston continued. “We can tell this as they are all non-NZ based, and given the current situation with international travel, it would be impossible for someone in the Ukraine, London or Germany to attend the circus in Whangarei this week”.

Marie Weber, director of New Zealand company Weber Brothers who is touring The Great Moscow Circus, added: “It is extremely frustrating that this highly unethical practice can’t be stopped in New Zealand.

“We set our circus ticket prices to be as affordable as possible, so to see Kiwi families paying three to four times as much as they should is very upsetting for everyone. It is decent hard-working New Zealanders who are getting ripped off, with the huge markup ending up in Viagogo’s coffers. If this is not a sophisticated international ticketing scam, then I don’t know what is.”

A Viagogo spokesperson told TheTicketingBusiness: “Viagogo is a global online marketplace. We have all kinds of ticket sellers on our platform, including fans and event organisers. We do not buy tickets from anyone or any event, we are solely a secure marketplace that exists to connect sellers and buyers. Ticket prices are set by the seller and where demand is high and tickets are limited, prices increase. Tickets that are listed at unreasonable prices tend to get the most media attention but rarely, if ever, sell.

“We always take the time to listen to feedback from our customers, regulators and other key players all over the world, and have made many changes over the past year to improve customer experience. Viagogo is, and will always be, committed to providing an unrivalled guarantee so customers around the world are able to gain access to their favourite events.

“We are keen to work with event organisers and rights owners wherever possible to provide an open and transparent platform for customers to access the widest possible selection of tickets to events of their choice – which we believe should be the ultimate goal of everyone in the industry.“

The New Zealand Commerce Commission initiated proceedings against Viagogo in August 2018 and joined a growing group of international enforcement agencies who are bringing similar cases against Viagogo. Viagogo faces court or enforcement action in Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Australia. It has been fined in Italy and sued by FIFA.

Most recently, the UK’s competition watchdog rejected a proposal by Viagogo to sell StubHub’s European entities to ensure its $4.05bn acquisition would be approved.

The offer was made last month as Viagogo sought to appease the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) competition concerns ahead of an in-depth Phase 2 investigation being announced.

Image: Ticket/Moscow State Circus