Viagogo or Vianono?
Secondary ticketing websites have long stirred emotion in music fans. Being given a second chance to see your favourite band after you missed out after getting up at 9am just to have tickets sell out in seconds is great, sure, but practically needing to take out a small mortgage for a couple of hours of fun has become more than an annoyance for many.
And it’s not just the music industry that is being ruined by ticket touting; recent reports of football fans paying as much as eight times the original ticket value have made headlines. One such case saw Milan fans paying a whopping £234.40 against an original ticket price of £28 to watch Arsenal v Milan in the Europa League. And if that’s not bad enough, the tickets weren’t even as advertised, with disgruntled fans turning up on match day only to be seated with the home side.
The problem with secondary ticket sellers doesn’t end with touters though. Viagogo and other similar sites including StubHub, Seatwave and GetMeIn have been picked up by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after reports that their fees aren’t transparent and they are ripping off consumers by slapping extra costs on at the end which reportedly can be as much as 50% of the actual ticket price.
But the problem with Viagogo is that, unlike its rivals, it has so far refused to play ball with UK trading standards. The three other big players in the market were subject to the same telling off about so called ‘drip feeding’ prices (adding on extra fees at the end) and have made assurances that they will make charges more obvious, but Viagogo has made no action.
A Summary of ASA ruling said: “Viagogo provided that assurance on 23 March 2018, agreeing to make compulsory fees sufficiently clear by 26 May 2018.
“Nevertheless (as of Tuesday) the website www.viagogo.co.uk continues to include pricing information that is in breach of the CAP Code and the ASA’s ruling.”
And the heat has been turned up again this week after global pop sensation Ed Sheeran turned away over 10,000 fans from his concerts that had purchased second hand tickets at hefty prices from Viagogo. The disappointed fans were asked to pay for a face-value ticket and given advice on requesting a refund.
The promoters of Sheeran’s shows, Kilimanjaro Live, said that they managed to make agreements with GetMeIn, Seatwave and StubHub that tickets would not be resold for the tour but that "the only agency which listed against our wishes and ignored all our correspondence was Viagogo.”
The public roasting of the company hasn’t ended there either, with digital minister Margot James making a public appeal to consumers: “If there’s one message I could get across to your listeners here this morning, it is that there are four big choices when you can’t get a ticket for an event from the primary seller – and you’ve got to go to a secondary site – there are four choices. Just don’t choose Viagogo, they are the worst.”
The Geneva based company has now been referred to the National Trading Standards where an investigation will take place.