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New Zealand appeals court overturns ruling stopping Commerce Commission from securing a Viagogo injunction

By | Published on Friday 4 October 2019


An appeals court in New Zealand has overturned an earlier ruling in the High Court in relation to efforts by the country’s Commerce Commission to secure an injunction against the often controversial secondary ticketing website Viagogo.

The NZ government agency wanted an interim injunction similar to that secured by the Competition & Markets Authority in the UK ordering the ticket resale website to stop deliberately employing confusing language on its website, so to trick consumers into thinking they are buying from a primary seller rather than a shady tout.

The lower court declined to issue the injunction in February not based on the Commission’s arguments about Viagogo’s conduct or New Zealand consumer rights law, but because of tedious jurisdiction issues. Basically the judge ruled that the Commission should have formally served notice against the ticketing firm in its home country of Switzerland.

The government agency was given the right to appeal two months later, and this week the appeals court overturned the original decision. That doesn’t mean the Commission now has its injunction, just that the lower court was wrong to deny to issue such a thing based on jurisdiction. Further legal action will now be required to secure the court order.

Whether or not the Commission will proceed with its action remains to be seen. Judges in the appeals court noted that Viagogo has made some changes to its website in the country anyway. While welcoming this week’s ruling, the Commission acknowledged that it would now “need to consider changes made to Viagogo’s website before deciding whether to proceed with the application for an injunction”.

A spokesperson for Viagogo welcomed the appeal court’s acknowledgment of changes it has already made. According to Stuff, the spokesperson said: “We have worked hard to address the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s concerns and remain committed to ensuring that Viagogo’s platform is compliant with the law. To that end, given the extensive changes that have been made to the site, it is our hope that we can work directly with the Commerce Commission to resolve any outstanding issues”.