The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against ticket reseller viagogo AG (Viagogo) alleging it breached the Australian Consumer Law when reselling entertainment, music and live sport tickets from 1 May 2017 to 26 June 2017.
The ACCC alleges that Viagogo made false or misleading representations, and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, regarding the price of tickets on its online platform by failing to disclose substantial fees.
“We allege that Viagogo failed to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront in the ticket price, including a 27.6 per cent booking fee for most events and a handling fee,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
For example, in relation to tickets advertised on Viagogo on 18 May 2017:
- the price of a Book of Mormon ticket increased from $135 to $177.45 (31% increase) when the $37.50 booking fee and $4.95 handling fees were included
- the total price for three Ashes 2017-18 tickets increased from $330.15 to $426.82 (29% increase) when the $91.71 booking fee and $4.95 handling fees were included
- the total price for two Cat Stevens tickets increased from $450.00 to $579.95 (29% increase) when the $125 booking fee and $4.95 handling fees were included
It is also alleged that Viagogo misled consumers by making representations on its website that tickets to certain events were scarce and likely to run out soon, without disclosing that this “scarcity” referred to tickets on its website only.
“Viagogo’s statements such as ‘less than 1% of tickets remaining’ created a sense of urgency for people to buy them straight away, when tickets may have still been available through other ticket sources,” Ms Rickard said.
The ACCC further alleges that Viagogo misled consumers by promoting itself as an authorised ticket seller through the use of the word ‘official’ in search engine advertisements such as Google.
“By using the word ‘official’, we allege that Viagogo represented in these ads that consumers could buy official original tickets, when in fact Viagogo is a platform for tickets that are being on-sold by others.”
The ACCC has received 473 contacts about Viagogo from Australian consumers this year.
“The ACCC expects all ticket reselling websites to be clear and upfront about the fees they charge, the type of tickets they sell and the nature of their business,” Ms Rickard said.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective publication orders, orders for a compliance program and costs.
See also: Consumer tips for buying tickets
Notes to editors
As Viagogo AG is located in Switzerland, the ACCC is making arrangements for service of court documents on this entity.
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