Viagogo was slammed as "not a reputable company" by DCMS chairman Damian Collins after the secondary ticketing platform again refused to face MPs.
The controversial Swiss-headquartered firm withdrew from Wednesday's (September 5) live music inquiry in Westminster, hours before Cristopher Miller, Viagogo's head of business development, was due to be quizzed on the firm's business practices, citing ongoing legal proceedings by the CMA.
Viagogo said it had failed to receive reassurance its evidence would not be used against the company in the CMA investigation, but its explanation was rejected by Collins.
The MP told the session: “At 11pm last night I received a letter from Viagogo saying that they did not feel they could appear in front of the committee as a consequence of the CMA’s decision to pursue action against Viagogo. They also referenced the legal action against Kilimanjaro Live as well.
“The CMAs case is not sub judice, the court papers have not been issued, there is no date for a hearing that’s been set. There is no reason why they should not appear as witnesses in front of the committee today."
He continued: “The reason that I believe they have chosen not to do that is because they are concerned about incriminating themselves by anything they may say by the evidence that they give.
"The basis on which select committee hearings work is people are invited to tell you the truth and if you’ve got nothing to hide then the truth will do you no harm and Viagogo have decided not to come and answer our questions."
The development marked the second time Viagogo has failed to appear before MPs when requested, having no-showed last March's parliamentary hearing on ticket abuse.
Collins suggested Viagogo's actions were "part of a pattern of evasion on their behalf". "I think it’s disrespectful to the house," he said. "I think it’s even more disrespectful to the customers, who have been the victims of Viagogo over so many years, that they will not come and answer questions about the way their business works.
"This has underlined the many real problems that I think exist around this business and I think the message that comes from today’s hearing, even though they’re not here to answer for themselves, is that if you want to be safe if you’re buying tickets online do not buy them from Viagogo, it is not a reputable company.”
Representatives from Ticketmaster and eBay-owned StubHub both attended to answer MPs’ questions.
Kilimanjaro Live MD Stuart Galbraith told the hearing he "wholeheartedly welcomed" Ticketmaster's move to shutter its secondary ticketing sites, Seatwave and Get Me In!
“Even before the announcement of the closure of Get Me In! and Seatwave, there was a new level of cooperation coming from certainly StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In! where we could request and they would comply, as opposed to us having to dictate and enforce," he said.
“To put it bluntly, we’re starting to clear up the acne that has blighted our industry and I think we’re coming up to the point where we’ve just got one major boil left to lance… Viagogo.”
FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb also struck an optimistic note. "What’s happened now, not only with Ticketmaster but also with AXS launching their marketplace, is a change in the UK market: it’s not going to be for profit resale, it’s going to be consumer-friendly and capped resale, that’s a big market shift."