Competition watchdog launches legal action against Viagogo

CMA is concerned ticket reseller is breaking consumer protection law

Caitlin Morrison
Friday 31 August 2018 12:07 BST
The secondary ticket website is already under investigation by trading standards
The secondary ticket website is already under investigation by trading standards (Reuters)

The competition watchdog has launched legal action against controversial concert ticket seller Viagogo over concerns that it is breaking consumer protection law.

The regulator said the firm’s customers are not being properly informed about the tickets they buy, so they do not know there is a risk they may be turned away at the door – or may not be told what seat they are getting.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began enforcement action against the secondary ticket website last year but said that, despite the threat of court action, Viagogo had failed to make necessary changes.

The CMA has therefore begun legal proceedings in the High Court. It is seeking a court order to make Viagogo change its practices.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive officer, 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 hardearned money.

“This applies to Viagogo as much as it does to any other secondary ticketing website. 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.”

The CMA said it is concerned Viagogo is breaking consumer law – with the result that customers are:

  • Not being told if there is a risk they will be turned away at the door

  • Not being informed which seat in the venue they will get

  • Not being told who is selling the ticket, so they can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business

  • Given misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets – which has the potential to lead to them being rushed into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice

  • Experiencing difficulties in getting their money back under Viagogo’s guarantee when things go wrong

  • Being offered tickets that a seller does not own and may not be able to supply

UK trading standards launched an investigation into the company earlier this year. At the time, digital minister Margot James told BBC Radio 5 Live that fans looking to buy tickets from a secondary site should not choose Viagogo, one of four major ticket reselling firms in the UK, because “they are the worst”.

Viagogo has previously been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for “failing to make clear upfront all fees that can be calculated in advance when making price claims”, putting it in breach of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing, known as the CAP Code.

Ticketmaster UK recently shut its resale websites Get Me In and Seatwave, leaving Viagogo and StubHub as the only major players in the controversial secondary ticket market.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in