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CMA raises “serious concerns” over Viagogo’s compliance with court order

By | Published on Friday 25 January 2019


Following the bold claim by Viagogo last week that it was now compliant with UK rules on secondary ticketing, the Competition And Markets Authority has – and I know this is going to surprise you – said that this is not the case.

In a statement yesterday, the CMA said: “Following initial checks, the CMA has serious concerns that Viagogo has not complied with important aspects of the court order we secured against them”.

That court order – or “agreement”, as Viagogo likes to call it – was sought after the always controversial ticket resale firm failed to commit to make changes to its website to bring it in line with consumer rights law.

The CMA first announced plans in November 2017 to crack down on all the major secondary ticketing sites in the UK. They then made a number of specific demands of those sites. By the compliance deadline of 17 Jan, those demands applied to just StubHub and Viagogo, after Ticketmaster shut down its GetMeIn and Seatwave sites in Europe.

Just before that deadline, Viagogo tweeted: “Further to the agreement we reached with the CMA we have met the deadline and are now compliant”.

Many critics – including some in the secondary ticketing industry – immediately disputed that this was the case. The rules being enforced include ensuring that buyers are told any seat numbers linked to tickets they are buying; that the name of the seller is published if said seller touts tickets commercially; and that any risks of touted tickets being cancelled by a promoter are clearly stated.

Viagogo was also told to stop using misleading messaging and to sort out its notoriously useless refunds system for people who buy tickets via the platform that then fail to get them into a show. In some cases, critics say that changes made to Viagogo’s site have made things worse, rather than better. Meanwhile, other rules are simply not being adhered to.

Reacting to the new CMA statement, Campaign Manager of anti-touting group the FanFair Alliance, Adam Webb, said in a statement: “Last week Viagogo passed a strict deadline to comply with a court order and overhaul its business. True to form, we have seen little evidence of change. In fact, our concerns with how this website operates have only intensified, and while we welcome today’s update it is now vital that the CMA act quickly and decisively to enforce the law. Viagogo has run out of road”.

On that last point, the CMA said in its statement: “The CMA has now raised these concerns with Viagogo and expects them to make any necessary changes without delay. If they do not, the CMA will return to court to ensure they do”.

This could now lead to Viagogo being found to be in contempt of court. If this happens, it could face a fine or some employees of the company could face prison.

Asked for a statement, a spokesperson for Viagogo would only say, “We are compliant”.