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Austrian court forces more seller transparency onto Viagogo

By | Published on Monday 11 May 2020


A new ruling in the Austrian courts means that the always controversial secondary ticketing company Viagogo will have to introduce a number of transparency measures in the country, similar to those forced on the ticket resale site by regulators in the UK.

Viagogo was taken to court by representatives of the Austrian sport and leisure sectors. The country’s Supreme Court has now ordered that the resale site provide better information for buyers on its platform regarding who is selling them their ticket. The ruling also says that customers should be alerted if a ticket being sold has been personalised to the original buyer, meaning that there is a risk the new buyer will be refused admission to the show.

Regulators and courts in multiple countries have put pressure on Viagogo over various practices that critics consider to be anti-consumer. The company has long been accused of confusing less sophisticated ticket buyers into thinking they are buying from official sellers rather than touts, and of hiding both the actual cost of tickets for sale on its platform and the risk that touted tickets for shows may be cancelled.

Where legal pressure mounts, Viagogo does sometimes make changes to its site in the country where that legal pressure originates. So a number of changes were made to the Viagogo UK site after legal action was taken by the Competition & Markets Authority. But those changes are not usually applied to Viagogo sites in other countries.

Welcoming the latest developments in Austria, the pan-European anti-touting group FEAT said on Friday: “This verdict is a remarkable step towards a fairer secondary market in Austria, as it not only forces ticketing transparency, but places responsibility at the feet of the platforms themselves. Let it be one step of many towards the creation of an ethical [ticket resale] market, which is all the more important in getting the industry back on its feet post-COVID-19”.