Legislation

European Commission says Viagogo has committed to improving terms and consumer info

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Online ticket marketplace Viagogo has committed to better inform consumers on the conditions in which tickets are resold, following dialogue with the European Commission, and the national consumer authorities of European Member States.

Additionally, Viagogo has said it will stop pressuring consumers with countdown messages in its role as a trader. 

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network, coordinated by the Commission, began dialogue with Viagogo in April 2021, following complaints concerning the secondary ticketing website and its perceived lack of clear information on taxes and fees. 

Following exchanges with the Commission, Viagogo has agreed to implement a series of changes to the versions of its website that are directed to EU/EEA consumers by the end of August this year. 

Changes include further clarifying how Viagogo ranks tickets in search results; reducing the number of countdown messages that appear; informing consumers that are already on the ticket selection page if the seller of the ticket is a trader or another consumer; where available, allowing consumers to choose an exact seat number; including the delivery fees in the displayed prices where there is only one delivery option available for a ticket; and where there are multiple options for delivery, informing customers more clearly that delivery fees are not included.

Elsewhere, Viagogo has agreed to implement a number of changes and clarifications to several clauses in its terms and conditions. This will ensure that consumers can bring legal action against Viagogo in their own Member State of residence and they they will enjoy the protection of their national consumer law; and that consumers can have more time to apply for a refund under the Viagogo ‘guarantee’ scheme in case of issues with their tickets.

Viagogo has also agreed that it cannot unilaterally change its terms and conditions without informing consumers ins advance, while also giving them a reasonable notice to cancel their account free of charge. The company has also agreed that when consumers are offered a substituted seat location under the Viagogo ‘guarantee’ scheme, the new seat location will be in the same or a better approximate location as the one in the substituted ticket.

While these commitments represent a step forward, Viagogo refused to commit to some of the changes requested by the CPC Network. 

These include informing the consumers about the amount of possible delivery fees at the beginning of the purchase procedure where there are multiple delivery options available for a ticket; making it clearer to consumers that, besides the remedies offered by Viagogo as an intermediary, they may have (additional) rights vis-à-vis the actual ticket seller and/or the event organiser when their event is cancelled or postponed.

The CPC Network has said it will now actively monitor how Viagogo implements its commitments. The European Commission also noted that in some Member States, there were ongoing legal proceedings against Viagogo based on EU consumer law and/or national laws that regulate the re-sale of event tickets. The closure of the dialogue between the CPC Network and Viagogo does not affect those proceedings.

Commenting on the news, director of the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) Sam Shemtob said: “FEAT has been calling for better enforcement for rogue ticket resale marketplaces for five years. 

“This is the EU’s first coordinated action, and introduces some of the most far-reaching consumer protection for European consumers to date. The changes will also prove incredibly useful in promoters’ efforts to curtail ticket scalping. We expect this will save lots of time and money in legal battles, which the live performance sector can ill afford.”

Since February this year, Viagogo has had to comply with the due diligence obligations of the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) in its role as an intermediary service. 

In a statement to TheTicketingBusiness, a Viagogo spokesperson said: “Following a period of ongoing cooperation with the European Commission and the CPC Network, we have agreed to make amendments to our platform that will further enhance our consumer protection measures by the implementation deadline.

“Viagogo remains fully committed to fulfilling all legal obligations and ensuring compliance in all markets in which we operate. We are pleased to have reached a resolution and underline our commitment to prioritising fan safety and access.”