Tuesday 27 November 2018 1:28 pm

Viagogo forced to overhaul ticket-selling practice by competition watchdog

Ticket reseller Viagogo was today forced to “overhaul” the way it does business by the UK’s competition watchdog.

In a landmark legal victory the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has secured a court order that will force Viagogo to tell customers the specific seat that they will get and whether there is a risk of being refused entry at the door due to resale restrictions imposed by promoters.

The victory for the CMA comes several months after it launched legal action against the company over worries that Viagogo was breaking consumer protection law.

The global ticketing provider has faced pressure over its secondary ticket market, such as reports in January 2017 that tickets for London’s popular musical Hamilton were listed on the firm’s site for almost £3,000 just two hours after going on sale, despite measures to prevent touting.

A spokesperson for Viagogo said: "We are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement that provides even greater transparency to consumers."

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “This court order is a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through Viagogo. We have been clear throughout our investigation that people who use these resale websites must know key facts before parting with their hard-earned money, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event at all.”

Last month the head of an influential committee of MPs launched a scathing attack on Viagogo after the controversial ticket resale giant snubbed a parliamentary hearing for the second time in as many years.

Damian Collins, who chairs the department for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee, slammed the act of non-attendance as a “gross discourtesy” and a “public embarrassment”.

Viagogo, which had been asked by parliament to respond to frustrations around the firm’s secondary ticketing business practices, said that it was unable to attend because of legal worries that the hearing might impact on court proceeding currently being brought against the firm by the UK’s competition watchdog over consumer law breaches.