'We still hold serious concerns': FanFair Alliance reacts to CMA suspending Viagogo legal action

'We still hold serious concerns': FanFair Alliance reacts to CMA suspending Viagogo legal action

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has suspended its legal action against Viagogo.

The CMA had prepared to take the secondary ticket service to court over accusations of failing to comply with an order over the treatment of customers.

The contempt of court action was pursued as Viagogo was said to have failed to comply fully with a legal ruling. In July, the CMA reported that Viagogo was still using some misleading ticket availability messages, failing to display all seat numbers and not providing complete addresses of businesses selling tickets.

The CMA said that Viagogo has now addressed the outstanding concerns about how it presents important information to customers. As a result, it has suspended preparations for court action in relation to those issues. But it has not ruled out future action if the problems recur or if other issues are identified.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “The Viagogo website UK customers now visit is worlds apart from the one they faced before the CMA took action. Key information needed to make informed decisions before buying a ticket is now much clearer including on where you’ll sit in a venue and whether you might be turned away at the door.

“What is clearly not acceptable is the time it’s taken to get to this stage. Stronger consumer powers are required in the secondary ticketing sector and we will continue to work with the Government on the most effective way to achieve this. A key part will be the Government’s existing plans to give the CMA stronger consumer protection powers, so that it can rule on whether a company has broken the law and impose fines on those infringing companies.

“We will keep up the pressure on Viagogo to ensure that it continues to comply with UK consumer protection law.”

It feels disappointing that our regulator is apparently relinquishing its considerable efforts and not finishing the job

FanFair Alliance

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance, said: "Today's announcement was a bolt from the blue, and we need time to assess its ramifications. Clearly, the CMA has led in undertaking some important work in bringing Viagogo to heel. The site is far more transparent than it was in December 2016, when their enforcement investigation began. 

"However, even leaving aside its historic abuses of UK audiences, which are serious, extensive and well documented, we still hold serious concerns that Viagogo remains non-compliant with a range of consumer protection laws. We continue to share these concerns with the CMA on a regular basis. And there's the rub. Having gone to the cost and effort of serving Viagogo with a court order, it certainly feels disappointing that our regulator is apparently relinquishing its considerable efforts and not finishing the job."

In October 2019 a further independent review of Viagogo’s compliance with the court order will be completed.

Coscelli added: “If the results of this review, or any other fresh information, suggests the company is not meeting its obligations then the CMA will not hesitate to take further action – through the courts if necessary.”

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