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CMA to take further legal action against Viagogo

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is moving forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against Viagogo after the company failed to comply with a court order.

The CMA secured a court order against the secondary ticket website in November 2018. The court order required Viagogo to overhaul the way it does business and presents information, in order to make it compliant with UK consumer protection laws. The order required Viagogo to implement the necessary changes, in full, by 17 January 2019.

In March 2019 the CMA announced it was preparing to take legal action for contempt of court and Viagogo responded by committing to make further improvements to its website.

The CMA has now completed further checks and considered the findings of an independent review of Viagogo’s compliance with the order. Many positive changes have been made, leading to improvements to the information customers receive when considering whether to buy a ticket, and Viagogo paying more than £400,000 in refunds to people whose claims it had wrongly rejected.

However, these are not enough, in the CMA’s view, to comply fully with the court order. Therefore, the CMA has notified Viagogo that it will be asking a court to find it in contempt of court.

Resale conditions and ticket availability

In particular, the CMA is still of the view that the warning Viagogo gives to people buying tickets with resale restrictions meaning they may not be allowed into an event does not meet the requirements of the order.

It said Viagogo is also still using some misleading ticket availability messages, for example displaying inaccurate claims about the number of tickets left on the site.

Other concerns include some seat numbers not being displayed on the website as required and not displaying the complete addresses of businesses selling tickets to consumers.

Hover text

Viagogo and the CMA have also been in court on a separate issue in relation to a particular part of the order dealing with the use of ‘hover text’ to display the face value of tickets and the deadlines for people to claim for refunds. A hearing took place on 18 June and the CMA is now awaiting the judge’s decision.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive officer, said: “It is simply not good enough that Viagogo is continuing to drag its heels by not complying in full with this important court order. We secured the order on behalf of people who use these resale websites and deserve to know the facts before parting with their hard-earned money.

“After the CMA repeatedly raised concerns with Viagogo, and also took the time needed to give proper consideration to the findings of an independent review of Viagogo’s compliance, we are very concerned that it still hasn’t done what it was ordered to do. We are now taking the next step in legal action to ask a court to find Viagogo in contempt.”

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