CMA challenges Viagogo over consumer protection failings

News that secondary ticket seller Viagogo is facing legal action at the hands of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has caught the attention of London Licensing, Gambling and Regulatory solicitors, Joelson.

The ticketing website has been targeted by the CMA after the watchdog initiated enforcement action against a number of similar ticket re-seller sites in November 2017.

In April this year, ticket sellers Seatwave, StubHub and GETMEIN! offered formal undertakings to overhaul the ways in which they do business amid consumer protection concerns.

Around the same time, Viagogo was warned to take similar action and to review its own business processes, but the organisation is yet to commit to these changes.

In light of this, the CMA has issued Court proceedings against the company alleging that it is breaching consumer protection law.

Specifically, the regulator has voiced concerns that Viagogo is operating in such a way that it is providing consumers with misleading information about the availability and popularity of event tickets and failing to inform them of important factors, such as which seats they are purchasing, or whether there is a risk they might be turned away from an event at the door.

On top of this, the CMA says that Viagogo is failing to inform customers of the identity of the individuals and businesses selling tickets advertised on the site, which is denying consumers the enhanced legal rights they would be entitled to if purchasing from a known business.  It adds that many consumers are being offered tickets that sellers do not physically own, while others are running into serious difficulties when pursuing refunds.

The CMA has said that it intends to bring the above practices to an end by seeking a Court order against Viagogo.

In an effort to resolve the matter promptly, the regulator is also seeking an interim enforcement order from the Court. If successful, this will put a stop to certain dubious practices in the period up until the full trial takes place, a press release on the GOV.UK website reveals.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli, said: “People who buy tickets on websites like Viagogo must be given all the information they are entitled to.”

“It’s imperative they know key facts, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event, before parting with their hard-earned money.”

She added: “Unfortunately, while other businesses have agreed to overhaul their sites to ensure they respect the law, Viagogo has not.”

“We will now be pursuing action through the courts to ensure that they comply with the law.”

For advice in relation to any of the issues raised above, please contact London Licensing, Gambling and Regulatory solicitors, Joelson.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams

Partner – Joint-Head of Licensing, Gaming & Regulatory

+44 (0) 20 7307 2105

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This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.