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Viagogo loses A$7m appeal

Secondary ticket platform Viagogo will have to pay a A$7m (£4m/$5m/€4.7m) fine for misleading customers when it resold concert and sports tickets five years ago, after losing an appeal against a prior court decision in Australia.

The Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed Viagogo’s appeal of a 2019 decision which found that the company had misled consumers. The court ordered that the “appeal is dismissed with costs”.

As part of the appeal, Viagogo failed to demonstrate mistakes in findings it had falsely claimed being an ‘official reseller’ of specific tickets, and that the platform had hidden significant fees meaning ticket-buyers did not know about the full price until later on in the process.

Viagogo also failed to inform consumers it was not a primary ticket retailer but rather a reseller of tickets.

The case was originally brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in August 2017, and in 2019 the court found Viagogo had misled consumers.

The Switzerland-headquartered company was ordered to pay A$7m in October 2020. Viagogo was allowed to postpone paying the fine in March last year.

ACCC commissioner Liza Carver said: “Viagogo misled music lovers, sporting fans and other consumers who were hoping to get tickets to a special event. Consumers were drawn in by a headline price and were often unaware of the significant fees charged by Viagogo until very late in the booking process when they were already invested in attending the event.”

A Viagogo spokesperson told the Australian Associated Press: “[The ruling] does not reflect our current ticketing platform and the many changes we have made to provide greater transparency for our customers, including providing clearer pricing, ticketing availability and event policy information at all stages of the customer journey.”

Image: Aaron Paul on Unsplash