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Commission to sue Viagogo

Media Release

Issued 15 August 2018
Release No. 24

Commission to sue Viagogo

The Commerce Commission is to commence civil proceedings in the High Court against Switzerland-based ticket resale website Viagogo.

The proceedings will be under the Fair Trading Act, and the Commission will be seeking:
• declarations that Viagogo has breached the Act
• an injunction restraining it from further breaches
• corrective advertising orders.

The Commission will claim that Viagogo made false or misleading representations:
• that it was an “official” seller, when it was not
• that tickets were limited or about to sell out
• that consumers were “guaranteed” to receive valid tickets for their event
• about the price of tickets, when its ‘headline’ prices were unobtainable because of the addition of GST and various fees.

The Commission will also allege that Viagogo’s contract includes an unfair contract term. The term states that all disputes brought by a consumer must be heard in Swiss courts under Swiss law, but Viagogo can choose to take court action against consumers in the consumer's own country.

The Commerce Commission now joins a growing group of international enforcement agencies who are bringing similar cases against Viagogo. Viagogo faces court or enforcement action in Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Australia. It has been fined in Italy and sued by FIFA. Since the beginning of 2017 the Commission has received more than 400 complaints about Viagogo, making it the most complained-about trader in that period.

“We acknowledge that this has been a longstanding investigation, and in large measure that is because of the complexity of pursuing a case against an online trader based offshore. We are pleased to have progressed matters to the point where we are now able to launch proceedings,” said Stuart Wallace, the Commission’s Head of Consumer.

As the matter will be before the Court, the Commission will make no further comment at this time.

Background
Unfair contract terms
The Commission can seek a declaration that a term in a standard form consumer contract is unfair. It is then an offence to continue to use or rely on that term.

The Commission has provided this advice on buying event tickets and has issued this media release about Viagogo.

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