CMA sets High Court date with secondary ticketing website

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun legal proceedings against the secondary ticket resale site viagogo, it has been revealed.

The regulator says the website has failed to make key changes recommended as a result of enforcement action last November.

The case will now be brought before the High Court on the grounds that viagogo is breaking consumer law.

The regulator will also seek an interim enforcement order from the court that will freeze some practices, which have been described as “abhorrent” and “misleading” by some commentators, in the period up until the full trial.

In a report published on the website, the CMA says customers are not being given all the information they are entitled to, such as what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not get into the event after purchasing a secondary ticket. The full list of potential breaches are listed below:

  • not being told if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door
  • not being informed which seat in the venue they will get
  • not being told who is selling the ticket, so that they can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business
  • given misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets – which has the potential to lead to them being rushed into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice
  • experiencing difficulties in getting their money back under viagogo’s guarantee when things go wrong
  • being offered tickets that a seller does not own and may not be able to supply

The announcement follows recent enforcement action involving three other major secondary ticketing websites, including StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave. Each offered formal commitments in April to overhaul the way they do business. However, viagogo was the only operator who failed to offer to make the changes the CMA considered necessary to “bring it in line with the law”.

Commenting on the move, Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said: “Unfortunately, while other businesses have agreed to overhaul their sites to ensure they respect the law, viagogo has not. We will now be pursuing action through the courts to ensure that they comply with the law.”