Viagogo investigated for ticket scalping by NSW consumer watchdog

The resale platform was hit with a $7million fine last year for breaching Australian consumer law

The New South Wales consumer watchdog has launched an investigation into Swiss ticket reseller Viagogo following numerous complaints this year.

NSW Fair Trading has received 36 complaints related to Viagogo this year, 16 of which accuse the platform of ticket scalping. Many of the complaints are related to Sydney’s production of Hamilton.

Currently, NSW consumer law prohibits the selling of tickets for more than 10 per cent above their original price, effectively preventing the act of ticket scalping. The regulations were introduced in 2018, which saw a decline in related complaints over the following 12 months.

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“However now that events are back on the agenda, we have seen a spike again and despite Viagogo being explicitly warned and receiving a $7million fine from the [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] in 2020, they continue to flout the rules,” NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said in a statement.

“Those within the entertainment and arts industry have been vocal about the obliteration of their industry due to COVID and they do not need the additional stress of ticket resellers scalping well-meaning fans.

“We will be investigating and using our powers to stop any unlawful behaviour.”

Viagogo was fined $7million by the Federal Court last year for breaching Australian Consumer Law by making false claims about the scarcity of tickets and misleading customers into thinking they were purchasing tickets from an official site rather than a resale platform.

“[The] $7million 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,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said at the time.

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Overseas, the New Zealand Commerce Commission is currently pursuing legal action against Viagogo for similar claims around scarcity and misleading customers, as well as allegedly unfair contract terms.

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