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Beef Of The Week #370: Australia v Viagogo

By | Published on Friday 1 September 2017


I think it’s fair to say that we can assume much of the music community is beefing with the least apologetic of the secondary ticketing platforms – so that’ll be Viagogo – in any one given week. Except, I suppose, those members of the music community who are busy touting their own tickets via the resale platform. You know who you are!

But in the last year or so, more and more members of the political community also seem to be putting Viagogo onto their beef lists, as they become increasingly critical of secondary ticketing in general, and/or the secretive Switzerland-based Viagogo in particular.

That’s been true in a number of countries, though this week mainly Australia, where not one but three government representatives spoke out against the ticket touting platform.

First the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission announced it was taking Viagogo to court over allegations it had made false or misleading representations, and has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct. The regulator criticised the secondary ticketing firm for failing to disclose its massive 27.6% booking fee, for misleading consumers about how many tickets were still available for any one show, and for its dubious use of the word ‘official’ when buying its way to the top of Google searches.

Said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard: “The ACCC expects all ticket reselling websites to be clear and upfront about the fees they charge, the type of tickets they sell and the nature of their business”.

But it wasn’t only the ACCC having a good dig at Viagogo this week. At a state level two Australian ministers spoke out against the ticket resale company as well. In New South Wales, Minister For Better Regulation Matt Kean criticised the firm for failing to respond to his state’s Fair Trading office, which was investigating various complaints filed by consumers.

Kean told reporters: “Complaints to date have included delayed delivery, events being cancelled, heavily marked-up prices, hidden fees, and failure to provide refunds. With most complaints relating to two or more tickets, [NSW] Fair Trading has estimated around 600 consumers have been ripped off at a cost of almost $130,000”.

Meanwhile over in Queensland, the state’s Attorney-General and Minister For Justice Yvette D’Ath told reporters: “The number of complaints received and the failure of Viagogo to attempt to resolve them is very concerning”.

She went on: “Viagogo’s conduct to date shows they have little interest in resolving consumer complaints and are unwilling to act in good faith if something goes wrong. We expect overseas online businesses to operate in a transparent manner and deal promptly with legitimate consumer complaints. Until such time as Viagogo improves its business practices, I urge consumers to think twice before dealing with them”.

Ouch. Viagogo, of course, always deals with the steady flow of criticism against its business model – whether from the music or political community – in the same way: by simply ignoring everyone. As it did again this week. Though, given this wall of silence approach is getting all the more pathetic as the criticisms mount, maybe we should start just translating what the silence actually means. So, here goes.

Responding to the firm’s Australian critics this week, an official spokesperson for Viagogo told reporters: “Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off”.