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Consumers need to consider if buying from Viagogo worth risk

Consumers need to seriously consider if buying from Viagogo is worth the risk

The Commerce Commission is advising consumers to seriously consider whether buying tickets from ticket reselling website Viagogo is worth the risk after the latest series of complaints.

The Commission is investigating Viagogo and to date has received 228 complaints. This includes 21 received over the weekend related to a number of recent and upcoming sporting events and concerts including Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain, and Bruno Mars.

The complaints include:
• Viagogo making representations that they were the official ticket seller not a reselling website
• Additional fees not being adequately disclosed
• Consumers being sold fake tickets or the same ticket being sold multiple times
• Consumers purchasing tickets that do not have the seating, access or other attributes that were advertised
• Viagogo making representations that the number of tickets are limited or selling very quickly, creating a sense of urgency to make the purchase
• Consumers never receiving the tickets they purchased and being unable to get hold of Viagogo to receive a refund.
“Our investigation has been focused on alleged false and misleading representations made by Viagogo which could breach the Fair Trading Act. We are currently seeking expert legal advice on whether and how we can enforce New Zealand consumer laws against Viagogo which is based in Switzerland,” Consumer Manager Stuart Wallace said.



“Over the weekend we received a wave of new complaints and there is a wealth of media coverage of consumers feeling ripped off after buying tickets from Viagogo. We are concerned our previous consumer advice via social media and on our website about the risks of ticket resale are not getting through. We strongly advise consumers to have their eyes wide open if they are considering buying tickets from Viagogo,” Mr Wallace said.

“We suspect consumers type the name of the artist they want to see into a search engine and then click the first result that appears – which is often Viagogo. We recommend consumers buy from primary ticket sellers. They can do this by visiting the artist or event’s official website and following the links from there.”

A number of other international regulators are also dealing with similar consumer complaints against Viagogo, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. In February 2018, Google also made changes which require event ticket resellers to be certified with Google before they can advertise through Google AdWords. To be certified resellers must disclose to customers that they are a reseller and that their prices may be higher than the face value. Prices must also be broken down to show the values of included fees and taxes before a customer provides payment. In March 2018, Google will also require certified resellers to post the face value of the tickets alongside the reseller’s price.

Background
Ticket reselling, including at a profit, is generally lawful in New Zealand unless the seller engages in misleading conduct or the event is covered by the Major Events Management Act. More information on ticket resale is available on our website.

Consumers who wish to make a complaint to the Commission can do so by completing our report form, emailing contact@comcom.govt.nz, or calling us on 0800 943 600.

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