ACCC slams ticket site
The ACCC has launched court action against ticket re-selling site Viagogo for alleged breaches of consumer law.
The ACCC says Viagogo failed to disclose substantial extra fees on the price of tickets on its site.
“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.
The ACCC has used tickets advertised on Viagogo on May 18 this year as an example:
- the price of a Book of Mormon ticket increased from $135 to $177.45 (31 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 will further allege 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.
A spokesperson for consumer rights group Choice applauded the ACCC’s play, saying it shows the need for larger-scale reform in the ticket resale sector.
“If their pricing issues weren’t bad enough,” a Choice spokesperson said this week.
“[Viagogo] markets itself as the ‘official’ site and claims to provide ‘consumer protection’. Both claims are questionable at best and are likely to confuse and disadvantage consumers.”
Choice recently launched an international survey of the resale market, scrutinising the activity of Viagogo, Stubhub and Ticketmaster Resale and others.