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VIAGOGO MAKES CHANGES TO TICKETING WEBSITE

View profile for Elliot Varnam
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Fraught with controversy secondary ticketing site, viagogo, seems to be finally making amends following the latest development coming from the Advertising Standards Authority (‘ASA’).

What is all of the drama about?

Back in March 2018, the ASA referred viagogo to National Trading Standards (‘NTS’) for viagogo’s failure to change the misleading pricing information on its website. Contrary to UK advertising rules, non-optional taxes (including VAT) were not quoted upfront and any applicable delivery fees were not stated / made clear to customers.

The ASA had first allowed viagogo the opportunity to change its practices, but did not meet a deadline to make the necessary changes the ASA were seeking. By referring the issue to NTS, statutory sanctions were up for consideration which could have involved prosecution and fines!

In addition to the ASA’s actions, the Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’) also brought legal proceedings against viagogo in the High Court over suspected breaches of consumer law. Some of viagogo’s practices ended with the result that customers were:

  • not being told of any risks that they will be turned away at the door;
  • being offered tickets that a seller does not own and may not be able to supply; and
  • not being informed which seat in the venue they will get.

viagogo seem to be their own worst enemy in this instance, as other secondary ticketing websites – comprising StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave – offered formal commitments to overhaul the way they do business whereas viagogo did not.

Changes

Unfortunately, this is not an appreciation section devoted to David Bowie’s 1971 hit!

Following the actions of the ASA and CMA (above), viagogo has changed its pricing practices so that pricing of tickets is now clear – being one single price, which contains VAT and the compulsory booking fee. This upfront quote is now shown at the start of the consumer journey.

These changes have satisfied the ASA, who have subsequently withdrawn restrictions it previously imposed on viagogo and has withdrawn its request to NTS to take further action.

Are viagogo now in the clear?

In short, no. The legal-hounding is not yet over. Despite these recent developments, the ASA’s decision is without prejudice to the court proceedings which the CMA is bringing against viagogo.

All eyes now turn to the outcome from the CMA’s proceedings which may provide advice and further understanding of UK consumer law in this sector. Watch this space!

If you would like any further information about this please contact the Chattertons team at your nearest office.