The Australian Federal Court has fined ticket reseller Viagogo $7million for misleading Australian customers.
The case against Viagogo was initially filed in 2017 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and a court ruling made last year. The official penalty was handed down today (October 2), as the ABC reported.
In 2019, The Court ruled that the company, which resells tickets for sporting, music and live entertainment events, had been making false or misleading representations to encourage consumers to purchase tickets from its website.
The Court ruled that Viagogo had breached Australian Consumer Law by making false claims about the scarcity of tickets for certain events, referring only to the number of tickets available on its platform and not others available elsewhere.
The Court also stated that the use of the word “official” in Viagogo’s advertising misled customers into thinking they were purchasing tickets from an official site rather than a resale platform. It also added that the hidden booking fees and failure to identify a single ticket price was in breach of consumer law.
Imposing the penalty today, Justice Stephen Burley fined Viagogo $7million for the breaches. He also ordered an injunction against the company, demanded they conduct a compliance program and instructed them to pay the ACCC’s court costs.
Judge Burley said that Viagogo’s actions gave it “the appearance of being a company that is indifferent to the interests of Australian consumers and which prefers to elevate its own profit motives above those interests, even when on notice of the potential for harm being done”.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said he hoped the fine would serve as a lesson to similar businesses.: “Today’s $7m penalty sends a strong signal to businesses like Viagogo conducting business in Australia that they cannot get away with profiting from misleading Australian consumers about the price of the tickets they are selling, or other misleading conduct.”
Since the 2019 hearing, Viagogo said it has changed its practices and now fully disclose all ticketing fees.