The Federal Court has found ticket reseller Viagogo AG made false or misleading representations and engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public when reselling entertainment, music and live sport event tickets, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
The Court found Viagogo misled consumers by claiming tickets to certain events were scarce when the scarcity only referred to the tickets available on its resale platform and didn’t include tickets available elsewhere.
“Viagogo’s claims misled consumers into buying tickets by including claims like ‘less than 1 per cent tickets remaining’ to create a false sense of urgency,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
The Court also found that using the word ‘official’ in its online advertisements was misleading. As a result of this, consumers were misled into thinking they were purchasing tickets from an official site, when in fact Viagogo is a ticket resale website.
“We urge consumers to only buy tickets from authorised sellers, or they risk their tickets being dishonored at the gates or doors,” Mr Sims said.
The Court also found that from 1 May 2017 to 26 June 2017, Viagogo’s website claims drew consumers in with a headline price but failed to sufficiently disclose additional fees or specify a single price for tickets.
The additional fees included a 27.6 per cent booking fee which applied to most tickets.
“Viagogo was charging extraordinarily high booking fees and many consumers were caught out,” Mr Sims said.
“Today’s Federal Court decision is a reminder to businesses that consumers must be clearly told that there are additional fees associated with a displayed price.”
The Court will determine penalties and orders against Viagogo at a later date.
The ACCC published guides for consumers on how to purchase event tickets with confidence: Consumer tips for buying tickets
The ACCC enforces the Australian Consumer Law which applies to tickets as well as other consumer goods and services. In recent years various state and territory governments have also introduced specific legislation regulating the reselling of tickets, such as maximum price caps.
Consumers with queries about their state or territory’s ticket reselling laws should contact their local fair trading or consumer affairs agency.
Update: Viagogo’s response here.