MPs warn music fans over Viagogo

MPs warn music fans over Viagogo

Culture minister Margot James has warned ticket-buyers against using Viagogo while the resale site fails to cooperate with the CMA's enforcement investigation.

The CMA (Competition And Markets Authority) singled out the Swiss-headquartered firm for not currently having agreed to ensure better information will be provided about tickets being resold through their platforms.

The other main scondary ticketing sites - StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave - have already committed to making the required changes.

"It will come as no surprise to hon. members that the one secondary site that has not yet co-operated is Viagogo, which is controlled from abroad," James told Wednesday's (May 2) ticket touting debate in parliament. I believe it is based in Switzerland, which presents an extra challenge."

Peter Wishart, SNP for Perth and North Perthshire, slammed the platform as "truly appalling and exploitative" and urged the public not to use the site.

Viagogo previously raised the ire of MPs by no-showing last March's select committee hearing on ticket abuse.

"I echo the remarks made by the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, advising customers not to use Viagogo’s services until it comes within the law," said James. "The CMA is concerned that all ticketing sites, secondary and primary, accept their responsibilities to consumers."

The MP said the Government was giving approximately £15 million to National Trading Standards for national and cross-boundary enforcement.

Members also praised Claire Turnham, founder of Victim Of Viagogo, a Facebook group that has helped return around £200,000 to disgruntled Viagogo customers.

"The secondary market has a place," added James. "Real fans, who are sometimes unable to attend an event, should have the means of making sure that their tickets do not go to waste. However, the Government recognise that the process of distributing and buying tickets often causes momentous public frustration and concern. We are determined to crack down on unacceptable behaviour in the ticketing market, and to improve fans’ chances of buying tickets at a reasonable price."

The action by the CMA coincided with a new law being introduced in Parliament to ban touts from using bots to bulk buy more tickets than allowed by event organisers.

Google has also recently introduced resale regulations, while the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) took action against the four main secondary ticketing companies, banning the misleading presentation of pricing information on their websites.

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