Viagogo is in hot water again, with the ticket reseller currently being investigated by NSW’s consumer watchdog, Fair Trading.
The investigation is a result of a spike in complaints against the company in line with the restarting of ticketed events.
In 2021 alone, NSW Fair Trading has already received 36 complaints in regards to the ticket reseller. To sum: 16 of those complaints were related to ticket scalping, 11 to the cancellation of events that were then not refunded, five in relation to misleading customers into believing they were the authorised seller, three for tickets not being delivered in a timely manner and one for not providing advice on age restrictions for a certain event.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb made a point of stressing that with the arts industry’s economy in its current state, Viagogo should not be allowed to get away with scalping.
“It was big news in 2018 when NSW Fair Trading made ticket scalping 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,” she said.
“We did briefly see a drop off in complaints but then we saw a spike at the end of 2019. 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 $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.
“We will be investigating and using our powers to stop any unlawful behaviour.”
Interestingly, the majority of complaints were in relation to Hamilton tickets being resold for over the 110% cap.
This new investigation is just another in a long line of controversies for the ticketing reseller. Back in 2019, Viagogo was indefinitely suspended from advertising with Google, meaning that they were not able to continue to pay to be at the top of Google’s global search rankings.
And the year before in 2018, a bunch of Aussie figures, including Tash Sultana, Gang Of Youths and the organisers of Laneway Festival, among others, took to social media to publicly share statements denouncing the ticket reseller.
UPDATE 08/07/21: A spokesperson for Viagogo has today responded with the following statement.
“Viagogo has taken prompt action to remove tickets from our platform that do not comply with the state’s regulatory regime.
“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.”