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CMA says Viagogo still not compliant with the law, plans new legal action

By | Published on Wednesday 6 March 2019

Viagogo

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority has confirmed that it is preparing new legal action against big bad Viagogo. The government body has concluded that the always controversial secondary ticketing site has still not complied with all of its demands to bring the touting platform in line with British law.

Early last year the CMA made a number of demands of all the big ticket resale websites in the UK, which at the time included eBay’s StubHub and Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and Get Me In!, as well as Viagogo. StubHub agreed to comply, while Ticketmaster decided to shut down its resale sites in Europe.

For its part, Viagogo failed to voluntarily agree to meet the CMA’s demands, forcing the government agency to secure a court order last November.

The deadline for addressing the CMA’s big list of required changes was in January. On deadline day, Viagogo bragged on Twitter that it was now compliant, but a week later the CMA confirmed that wasn’t the case and called on the rogue resale site to urgently ensure every requirement of its court order had been met.

Yesterday the government agency said that, while some changes have been made, Viagogo is still not fully compliant, hence the need to return to court to enforce last year’s injunction. A spokesperson said: “The CMA has today warned Viagogo it is still not compliant with the court order we secured, requiring improved information be displayed about the tickets listed for resale on its site”.

“Although some improvements have been made since we first demanded action to address areas of non-compliance”, it went on, “further checks have shown there are still issues of concern. For a company not to comply with a court order is clearly very serious. We are therefore now preparing to take legal action to ask a court to find Viagogo in contempt”.

Contempt of court is a pretty big deal and can result in jail time for a company’s leadership. Which is possibly why Viagogo was slightly less bullish in its response to this latest development, although it still insists that it believes it is now in line with UK law.

“We take the CMA’s concerns very seriously”, a spokesperson for the ticketing set-up insisted. “However, we strongly believe we are not in breach of the court order. As the CMA indicated, we have successfully made several improvements to our platform to meet the compliance requirements of the order”.

However, the spokesperson added: “We remain committed to working closely with the CMA and to achieving the highest standards possible on behalf of the thousands of people who use Viagogo every day”.

Those who have been campaigning against ticket touting – and who have long been calling for relevant laws to be enforced against Viagogo – obviously welcomed yesterday’s announcement from the CMA.

A spokesperson for the FanFair campaign stated: “The FanFair Alliance welcomes today’s long-awaited announcement from the CMA. We also share concerns about Viagogo’s compliancy with its court order, and that the site continues to facilitate large-scale breaches of consumer law. All UK music fans should avoid this site”.

Meanwhile Sharon Hodgson MP, who heads up the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse, said: “I am pleased that the CMA have today announced that they are preparing to take Viagogo to court to find them in contempt. This has been a long time coming, so I feel that it is only right that Viagogo are held to account for their parasitical actions, that have ripped off fans for far too many years”.

“As the Chair of the APPG On Ticket Abuse, I will of course be watching this very closely”, she went on. “As will thousands of fans who have fallen victim to Viagogo. I echo the warnings of … Fan Fair Alliance that fans should avoid buying from Viagogo”.

If you’re interested in how we got to this point, don’t forget we had a recent special edition of Setlist telling the secondary ticketing story from its shift onto the internet, up to around about now.



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