Sunday 17 February 2019

Ticket site Viagogo said it is 'now compliant' with court order to identify touts

Claire Turnham created the VofV group after she was overcharged for Ed Sheeran tickets(Viagogo/PA)
Claire Turnham created the VofV group after she was overcharged for Ed Sheeran tickets(Viagogo/PA)

Josie Clarke

The competition watchdog says it will "not hesitate" to take action against Viagogo if the ticket resale site fails to comply with a court order to identify touts.

From Friday, Viagogo must publish the names and addresses of touts, those who sell more than 100 tickets a year via the site, to consumers.

Viagogo said it has already met the deadline and is "now compliant".

The site said in a statement: "Further to the agreement we reached with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), we have met the deadline and are now compliant.

"All tickets on Viagogo are valid and it is perfectly legal to resell a ticket or give it to someone else if you want to."

Claire Turnham, awarded an MBE for obtaining close to £1m of refunds from the site through her Victim of Viagogo group, said: "We trust the CMA will act swiftly and strictly if Viagogo are not compliant by the deadline tonight.

"As consumers, we are desperate to know ticket buyers will be able to buy tickets more safely and have certainty that they will be protected by the law."

But details already emerging about some sellers using the site caused her concern, she said.

"These business sellers have up until now benefited from a cloak of anonymity. Now that their identities are being revealed, it is very telling about who they are and the greedy way they operate," she added.

"Resale sites are a great thing if they work as intended, as an authorised site for those who previously bought valid tickets and for whatever reason genuinely can no longer go, and for buyers who want to do a lovely thing for their friends and families.

"To see traders possibly buying and selling thousands of tickets, and profiteering hugely from the process and the public, is galling. We also have to wonder how they are even getting these tickets."

In November, the CMA told the Switzerland-based company it must overhaul the way it does business to protect consumers under a High Court order.

Under the order, Viagogo must also warn buyers if the tickets are subject to a ban on resale that might lead to them being turned away at the door, and publish information such as the face value of tickets and the seat number.

It must also not give misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets, which the CMA said had the potential to lead to customers rushing into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice.

The order will also make it easier for consumers to get their money back under Viagogo's guarantee when things go wrong and ensure that the site does not repeat historic failures to make its customers aware of the face value of tickets, the watchdog said.

Viagogo is subject to the same deadline set for other resale sites that have already agreed to change their practices.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: "From midnight tonight, several major secondary ticketing websites, including Viagogo, must have made changes to comply with consumer protection law.

"This follows CMA enforcement action and is an important milestone in ensuring people know what they are getting before buying from a resale site.

"Reviews will now take place so we can be clear they are doing everything expected of them. We will not hesitate to take further action if any of the sites fail to meet their obligations."

The CMA began enforcement action against four secondary ticketing websites last November, with three of them - Stub Hub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave - committing to change their business practices.

Online Editors

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