Viagogo has been ordered to overhaul the way it does business following a landmark ruling in the High Court.
The development follows legal proceedings by the Competition And Markets Authority (CMA), which launched court action against the platform in August over concerns it was breaking consumer protection law.
Viagogo agreed to address all of the CMA’s concerns, without the need for a trial. The order is legally binding and enforceable by the court. The legally binding order instructs Viagogo to make its customers aware of the face value of tickets on sale through its site and comply with the law by:
- · telling purchasers of tickets if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door
- · informing customers which seat in the venue they will get
- · providing information about who is selling the ticket, so people can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business
- · not giving misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets - which had the potential to lead to customers being rushed into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice
- · making it easy for people to get their money back under Viagogo’s guarantee when things go wrong
- · preventing the sale of tickets a seller does not own and may not be able to supply
Andrea Coscelli, CMA CEO, said: “This court order is a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through viagogo. We have been clear throughout our investigation that people who use these resale websites must know key facts before parting with their hard-earned money, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event at all.
“Viagogo has agreed to a comprehensive overhaul of its site to ensure it respects the law, just like the other resale sites who have already signed commitments to improve the information they offer and give people a fair deal.”
Today’s court order must be complied with by mid-January – the same deadline set for other resale sites that have already agreed to change their practices.
Viagogo said it had reached a "ground-breaking settlement" with the CMA. A spokesperson for the site said: "We are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement that provides even greater transparency to consumers."
Reacting to the news, FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb said: "While the UK’s ticket resale market undergoes a long-awaited transformation, Viagogo has effectively become a rogue operator. That it’s required a court order to force their compliance with existing legislation is nothing short of extraordinary. Effectively, it means Viagogo have been given until mid-January to overhaul their bad practices. If they fail to do that, they should feel the full force of the law."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) previously withdrew its referral of Viagogo to National Trading Standards after declaring itself "satisfied" by changes to pricing information on the resale firm's website.
Switzerland-based Viagogo withdrew from September's select committee hearing on secondary ticketing, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.
Viagogo also claimed it had initiated court proceedings against Kili founder Stuart Galbraith in Germany over Kili's move to cancel thousands of tickets bought through the resale site for Ed Sheeran's 2018 stadium tour, though Galbraith told this month's Artist & Manager Awards it had not followed through with that threat.
In August, Ticketmaster announced the closure of its resale sites and AXS recently launched its own “transformative” resale platform, cutting its ties with eBay-owned StubHub.