Three major secondary ticketing websites have promised to give better information about the tickets they are selling after enforcement action by the competition watchdog – but Viagogo is not one of them, and has been threatened with court action.
StubHub, Get Me In and Seatwave have formally committed to ensuring better information will be given about tickets being resold through their sites, after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) identified problems last year.
However, Viagogo has not agreed to make changes the CMA considers necessary, and the CMA has notified it that it will take court action unless it commits to addressing its concerns.
See our Cheap Tickets guide for what to watch out for when buying cheap theatre, sport and gig tickets.
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What have the sites agreed to do?
StubHub, Get Me In and Seatwave have agreed to make clear:
- whether there is a risk a customer might be turned away at the door
- which seat in the venue the customer will get
who is selling the ticket,
- who is selling the ticket, so customers can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business.
What problems did the CMA find with secondary sellers?
The CMAs enforcement action, launched in November last year, followed a thorough investigation which identified concerns that consumers who used StubHub, Get Me In, Seatwave and Viagogo were not being told:
- about restrictions on using a resold ticket, that had the potential to lead to a buyer being denied access to an event
- where exactly in a venue they would be seated
- the identity of the sellers they are buying from for example whether the seller was a business and/or connected to an event organiser
As part of this investigation, the CMA also raised a number of other concerns with Viagogo, including:
- a failure to fully comply with a commitment given to the CMA in 2015 to make its customers aware of the face value of tickets
- making statements about the availability and popularity of tickets on its website which had the potential to mislead consumers or rush them into making a buying decision
- problems encountered by its customers in getting their money back under the guarantee
- businesses advertising tickets for sale on the website that they do not yet own and therefore may not be able to supply
What does the CMA say?
Michael Grenfell, the CMAs Executive Director for Enforcement, said: Thousands of people use secondary ticketing websites to buy tickets for concerts, theatre and other events. So its crucial they are told what they are buying, from whom they are buying it, and whether their ticket might not actually get them into the event.
We welcome the changes already made and new commitments weve been given by StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In to improve the information on offer, so that people can better judge whether theyre getting a good deal.
But all secondary ticketing websites must play by the rules and treat their customers fairly if anything goes wrong. We take failure to comply with consumer protection law very seriously.
So far viagogo has failed to address our concerns, and we are determined to ensure they comply with the law. We are prepared to use the full range of our powers to protect customers including action through the courts.
We have contacted Viagogo for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.