Business News Live Business Top Stories

Queensland Attorney-General advises consumers to “think twice” before using Viagogo

By | Published on Wednesday 30 August 2017


As the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission takes Viagogo to court over allegations the always controversial secondary ticketing site has made false or misleading representations, and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, two state governments in Australia have also spoken out about the ticket resale platform.

In Queensland, the state’s Attorney-General and Minister For Justice Yvette D’Ath specifically advised consumers to “think twice” before buying tickets off the Viagogo site, reporting that the Queensland Office Of Fair Trading had received 43 complaints about the tickets site in the last year. The minister added that to date Viagogo had refused to engage with both Queensland’s OFT and its own aggrieved customers.

The specific complaints against Viagogo being logged by consumer rights officials in Queensland are pretty familiar – including unclear and sky-high fees, and consumers being unaware that they are buying from a tout rather than an official seller of tickets to a show.

D’Ath said in a statement: “The number of complaints received and the failure of Viagogo to attempt to resolve them is very concerning. 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”.

The minister continued: “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”.

D’Ath also reminded consumers about specific rules in Queensland regarding the resale of tickets for profit, including that “it is illegal to resell or buy resold tickets for more than 10% above face value for events at Queensland’s major venues”, and that the resale of tickets for next year’s Commonwealth Games, which are being staged in the state, is not allowed.

Elsewhere, the Minister For Better Regulation in New South Wales, Matt Kean, has also spoken out against Viagogo, reporting that NSW Fair Trading had now made over 194 attempts to contact the ticket resale company, and that those communications “had gone vastly unanswered”.

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”.

Although very chatty in the early days of online ticket touting, Viagogo has employed a wall of silence for a number of years now, routinely ignoring angry customers and inquisitive politicians when they try to make contact. It remains to be seen how the company responds to the ACCC’s legal action.

Meanwhile, as previously reported, the UK’s FanFair Alliance recently published a guide to getting a refund from Viagogo, produced in partnership with Claire Turnham, who set up the Victims Of Viagogo group on Facebook after her own run-in with the site.