Viagogo responds to DCMS criticism: 'We provide an invaluable service'

Viagogo responds to DCMS criticism: 'We provide an invaluable service'

Viagogo has hit back after MPs warned consumers against using the secondary ticketing platform.

The advice was given as part of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Committee's report into live music, published today, which followed a series of sessions in parliament over the past two years. 

The publication said Viagogo had "caused distress to too many music fans for too long" and has provoked the Swiss-headquartered resale site, which twice failed to appear before the committee when summoned, into releasing its lengthiest public statement in years.

“We are disappointed that the DCMS have singled us out particularly, when hundreds of thousands of British citizens use our service to buy and sell tickets to their favorite live events every day and never experience any problems," it said. "We provide an invaluable service to UK consumers by giving them access to events in the UK and all over the world. 

"For those transactions that fall into the 1% annually where customers do have an issue, the overwhelming majority of cases are due to the unfair and potentially illegal restrictions the event organisers pose simply because customers have chosen to purchase tickets from a competitor of theirs."

The company is insistent it is compliant with Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) regulations, despite claims to the contrary

"We have been complying and will absolutely continue to work constructively with the CMA to make further amends where necessary, all the while putting all of the buyers and sellers who use the platform first,” it added.

Anti-touting pressure group the FanFair Alliance has backed the findings of the report and called on Google to take action against Viagogo.

"FanFair Alliance welcomes all aspects of the committee’s wide-reaching report, and especially their condemnation of Viagogo," said campaign manager Adam Webb. "What we now need is action. If a restaurant poses a risk to public health, we expect inspectors to close it immediately on grounds of consumer protection. 

"Unfortunately, such powers of enforcement are seemingly absent when it comes to online ticket touting. So despite the huge consumer harm caused by Viagogo's practices, and despite the best efforts of the Competition & Markets Authority and other regulators, the site has continued to operate in clear disregard of the law. 

"This needs to change. Viagogo is already facing legal proceedings for contempt of court. While that case is pending, there is surely a compelling argument for the website to be temporarily blocked and for platforms like Google to cut off its advertising."

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher shared similar thoughts. “Viagogo has been ripping off music fans for far too long and we are delighted this report recognises that," he said. "It’s high time Viagogo became Via-NoNo when it comes to ticket sales.  But Google is complicit in this because it effectively facilitates rip-off merchants like Viagogo by ranking them at the top when people search for tickets online. Google must also take responsibility to make sure fans get a fair deal."

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse added: “I am pleased that ticket abuse has played a large role in this review, and that once again the committee has been clear that the public must not buy or sell tickets through Viagogo.

“I hope that the Government will respond positively to the report, particularly to the recommendations about reviewing the effectiveness of current regulations, and act appropriately if they are found to be ineffective.

“Ticket abuse is a widescale problem, and requires action from the ticketing industry, promoters, artists, search engines, consumers and Government. I have been committed to tackling this problem for almost a decade, and will not stop until fans are put first.”

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