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Viagogo being investigating in New South Wales where ticket touting is tightly regulated

By | Published on Thursday 8 July 2021


A regulator in the Australian state of New South Wales has announced that it is investigating good old Viagogo following 36 recent complaints submitted about the ticket resale site.

Although Viagogo has proven controversial across all of Australia – with the company being fined AUS$7 million following legal action by the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission – the secondary ticketing firm’s operations are of particular interest in New South Wales because of anti-ticket touting laws that went into effect there in 2018. Under that state’s law it is illegal to resell tickets at anything higher than a 10% mark up.

The NSW Fair Trading agency says that although the number of complaints it received about Viagogo declined following that change to the law in 2018, they started to increase again in late 2019. When the pandemic hit and the live sector went into shutdown there was another decline, but now there has been a new spike.

Of the 36 formal complaints recently received, NSW Fair Trading notes that sixteen specifically relate to ticket touting rules, while eleven are about refunds for cancelled events, five complain that Viagogo misrepresented itself as an official seller, three are about tickets not being delivered on time, and one relates to age restriction information not being provided.

Confirming the agency is now investigating, NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb adds: “It was big news in 2018 when NSW Fair Trading made ticket [touting] illegal by making it an offence for ticket resellers such as Viagogo to charge more than 10% extra on the original ticket price and transactions costs”.

“We did briefly see a drop off in complaints but then we saw a spike at the end of 2019”, she goes on. “When the pandemic hit complaints obviously dropped off again as events were not able to go ahead. However, now that events are back on the agenda, we have seen a spike again and despite Viagogo being explicitly warned and receiving a AUS$7 million fine from the ACCC in 2020, they continue to flout the rules”.

“Those within the entertainment and arts industry have been vocal about the obliteration of their industry due to COVID and they do not need the additional stress of ticket resellers ‘scalping’ well-meaning fans”, she concludes. “We will be investigating and using our powers to stop any unlawful behaviour”.

For its part, Viagogo told Australian media: “Viagogo is committed to complying with legislation in all markets we operate in, including NSW, and when we are notified of listings that are not compliant, we act quickly to remove them. We look forward to continuing to productively engage with regulators to ensure that our website is compliant and the safe and transparent marketplace we offer continues to help customers gain access to events worldwide”.