THE Australian Competition Consumer Commission is taking ticket reseller Viagogo to federal court for allegedly misleading punters.
In June the Voice reported Perth federal MP Tim Hammond was calling for a crackdown on sites selling dodgy tickets.
One of the companies he named in parliament was Viagogo, a Swiss-based website that resells tickets at highly-inflated prices as well as invalid tickets that see punters get turned away.
He said it was harming local venues like the Astor Theatre, who was unfairly copping a serve from patrons who’d bought phoney tickets from official-looking third party websites like Viagogo.
The ACCC is alleging Viagogo breached Australian consumer law by making false representations, pretended tickets were scarce when there were still plenty left, and “failed to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront in the ticket price” (some of their booking fees were up to $91).
The Astor Theatre has welcomed the news that the ACCC was taking action, reporting via their Facebook page: “Don’t ever buy tickets from Viagogo. We unfortunately had to deny entry to 27 patrons to Rhys Darby on Friday night who were scammed on the Viagogo site purchasing [non-valid] tickets”.
Bigger venues have been hit by it too. WA’s commissioner for consumer protection David Hillyard announced on Monday that the bulk of invalid tickets to Perth Arena events were being sold through Viagogo.
Over 350 patrons were turned away from events at Perth Arena in the past five months because they’d bought phoney tickets from resellers.
“In 245 of these cases tickets had been purchased from Viagogo, with 98 purchased from Ticketmaster Resale and 11 from other lower profile sites,” Mr Hillyard said.
“So far this year Consumer Protection has received 45 complaints in relation to Viagogo ticket sales, compared to only nine for the whole of last year.”
Mr Hillyard says: “We have been negotiating with Geneva-based Viagogo to ensure that they understand that Australian consumers have legal rights and to ensure that they respond in a timely manner to consumers as well as Australian consumer law regulators like Consumer Protection.
“These negotiations are slow but progressing.”
He said the safest way to buy tickets is from a venue’s authorised ticket seller.
by DAVID BELL