Viagogo faces action in India ahead of Cricket World Cup

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

Viagogo is the subject of consumer action in India over claims it is breaching numerous laws ahead of the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.

The complaint, filed with the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), says the secondary ticketing group is in violation of laws regarding e-commerce and competition. The filing references claims that tickets for India’s World Cup match against Pakistan are being listed at 50 times their face value.

The case, reported by the MediaNama website, has been brought by a technology law and policy researcher. Raghav Ahooja, a Georgetown University law student, claims in his submission that Viagogo is in breach of India’s IT Rules 2021, the E-Commerce Rules 2020, and the Competition Act 2002.

In his filing, Ahooja says Viagogo’s business model encourages touting and scalping, in contravention of competition rules. Its failure to appoint Indian-based grievance officers and nodal officers also breaches laws, he claims.

Due diligence

Ahooja wrote: “Viagogo AG does not have a good track record of obeying laws and has been prosecuted on multiple occasions across jurisdictions.

“Viagogo AG is a company registered in Switzerland that connects buyers and sellers and earns by charging a commission on every successful transaction. Thus, it is not a neutral party as it benefits from every subsequent transaction done on its platform and is incentivised to not do its due diligence and omit following the law of the land.”

Ahooja has asked the GAC to rule that Viagogo cannot claim safe harbour protections because of its non-observance of the above-mentioned laws. “If that is granted, I will consider pursuing legal action against the company in a court of law,” Ahooja told MediaNama.

GACs were set up under the IT Rules 2021 to allow users to appeal any grievances that were not satisfactorily resolved by an intermediary. The committee’s decision is binding on the intermediary.