Viagogo Fined One Million Euros In Italy, Investigated In Spain

Italian antitrust agency AGCM has fined Viagogo €1 million ($1.2 million) for failing to comply with demands made a year ago. Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s office in Valencia, Spain, has launched an investigation.
Italy’s anti trust agency AGCM has fined Viagogo €1 million

Back in April 2017, the AGCM found that Viagogo was misleading customers by not making the original ticket price as well as their allocated seats transparent. The authorities ordered Viagogo to rectify the situation by indicating the face value price as well as seat number.

Viagogo responded, saying it would comply, but since then, numerous new complaints by consumers and consumer associations have been submitted. AGCM consequently imposed a fine of €1 million on the ticket resale company.

It remains to be seen whether Viagogo is going to lose that money. If the Lazio Regional Administrative Court in Rome disagrees with AGCM’s assessment, the antitrust body may be forced to pay back the fine, as has happened in a recent case involving CTS Eventim’s Italian operation TicketOne. That case was a different one, though, as it revolved around the questions of bots bulk-buying tickets and TicketOne taking sufficient measures to curb such practices, which the court found it did.

Meanwhile in Spain, the provincial prosecutor’s office in Valencia has opened an investigation into Viagogo’s business practices, suspecting possible abusive behavior against consumers. Countless ticket buyers had complained about Viagogo’s ticket prices for U2’s September concert in Madrid.

“The Prosecutor’s Office of Valencia has received several complaints made by ticket buyers last January, after the tickets were sold out in a few minutes and the only possibility of accessing one ticket was paying resale prices ranging from €285 to €1,500,” 20 Minutos reported.

Viagogo may soon end up in a tight spot: New Zealand, too, has launched an investiagtion against the ticket reseller. The country’s fair-trading regulator, the Commerce Commission, says it has received 223 complaints in relation to recent Bruno Mars shows and upcoming dates from Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain and sports events.

The U.K. has been very active in the fight against secondary ticketing. It’s most recent crackdown was executed by the country’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which banned Viagogo from using the phrase “official site” and suggesting to customers they would be guaranteed entry to the venue “when there was in fact a reasonable risk that buyers might not be able to gain entry into an event.”

Pollstar recently spoke to an Austrian lawyer, who handles two cases brought to court by two comedians, who sued the Viagogo AG for selling overpriced tickets to their shows.

Last but not least, the world soccer association FIFA obtained a preliminary injunction against Viagogo, issued by the district court of Hamburg, Germany, ahead of the World Cup soccer tournament in Russia.

Hamburg’s district court agreed and held that Viagogo “was leading potential ticket buyers to believe that it had valid and deliverable tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, although this was not the case.”