MEDIA RELEASE: ACCC takes website Viagogo to court
After months of inaction the Federal Liberal Government tells us there is nothing to worry about and they are taking action against Viagogo. Today the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Comission) has announced it is taking ticket reseller Viagogo to the Federal Court. According to the ACCC, Viagogo is believed to have breached the Australian Consumer Law by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct, and making false and misleading representations while reselling tickets to live entertainment by failing to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront.
In a statement issued today by the ACCC, Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said “We allege that Viagogo failed to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront in the ticket price, including a 27.6 per cent booking fee for most events and a handling fee.”
The fact that the ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Viagogo is good, but here is the problem. Use any search engine right now, type in the name of a band you want to see or a festival you want to attend and the word ‘tickets’ and see how often the Viagogo website comes up as the very first search result.
At this exact moment, Australian concertgoers are still being ripped off. At this exact moment the search engines are taking money from sites like Viagogo in the knowledge that some people will pay too much for tickets, some people will be sold the ticket multiple times and some people will be sold tickets that are entirely fake.
The Government never should have taken so long to act. Now that they have started to move it’s time that they deal with more than simply the mark-ups which are charged.
Almost nobody starts at the Viagogo website. They are taken there by the search engines that are profiting from a company that cheats concertgoers of their hard earned money. As long as the major search engines continue to take Viagogo’s advertising money concertgoers will continue to be directed to sites that rip them off.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said “By using the word ‘official’, we allege that Viagogo represented in these ads that consumers could buy official original tickets, when in fact Viagogo is a platform for tickets that are being on-sold by others.”
Almost 500 complaints about Viagogo have been made to the ACCC this year, and consumer advocacy organisation CHOICE published a major investigation into ticket scalping in March.
Concerts, festivals and other live entertainment are one of the biggest discretionary purchases that consumers will make each a year. Consumers deserve to know that their hard earned money will purchase them a legitimate ticket to the advertised event.
Labor is glad some action is being taken but we are not going to start congratulating the Government so long as the search engines continue to send people to a site that takes their hard earned money and doesn’t guarantee them entry at the door.
In response to Labor’s calls for reform, today, the Turnbull Coalition Government belatedly said it will add ticket scalping to its list of discussion items for Thursday’s Consumer Affairs Ministers’ meeting – presumably at the bottom of the list after retirement villages, fees for paper bills, 19 legislative proposals from the Consumer Affairs Australian New Zealand review into the Australian Consumer Law and the 16 findings and recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report into Consumer Law Enforcement and Administration.
Tony Burke's survey can be found here: www.tonyburke.com.au/get-active/2017/5/31/stop-fake-tickets.
THE HON TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
TIM HAMMOND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH