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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summary-of-the-court-order-secured-by-the-cma-against-viagogo/summary-of-the-court-order
The CMA has secured a legally binding court order against viagogo which will overhaul the way it does business and help to ensure that it complies with the law. This includes requiring viagogo to:
- tell customers if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door
- inform customers which seat in the venue they will get
- provide information about businesses who are selling tickets (including professional resellers)
- not give misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets - which had the potential to lead to customers being rushed into making a buying decision or making the wrong choice
- make it easier for people to get their money back under viagogo’s guarantee when things go wrong
- prevent the sale of tickets a seller does not own and may not be able to supply
The order will also ensure that viagogo does not repeat historic failures by making its customers aware of the face value of tickets on sale through its site.
These changes will:
- allow people to decide whether buying a ticket is worthwhile and to pick the best deal for them
- prevent customers being misled by messages about the availability and popularity of tickets
- ensure people can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business
- make it easier for customers to get their money back when things go wrong – avoiding the risk of consumers’ claims being rejected unfairly
- ensure that certain customers that made unpaid claims under viagogo’s guarantee will receive refunds if they were entitled to them
viagogo must implement the requirements of the court order by mid-January 2019.
The CMA has summarised the key changes that viagogo must make to its systems and processes below.
Making checks before people can list tickets
Before letting people list tickets, viagogo must look at certain pages on the primary ticket seller’s website for information about restrictions on use which apply to an event (including resale restrictions) and ensure that the restrictions it finds are disclosed before consumers buy tickets.
viagogo will only let people list tickets once it has checked that tickets for the event have been officially released on the primary market (unless a seller can prove they already have a ticket or have a right to purchase one).
Requiring sellers to provide information before they list tickets
viagogo must change its processes to make it mandatory for sellers to provide information about restrictions on use, seat number and face value before tickets are listed for sale. For example, sellers will no longer be able to list seated tickets without entering the seat number (unless the seller can demonstrate that a seat number has not been issued).
Sellers must also confirm whether they are a business before they can list tickets and, if so, provide their details. viagogo must check its own records for sellers who have not disclosed that they are a business (for example, because they sold more than 100 tickets in a year).
Taking action when notified of a problem
If event organisers notify viagogo of problems with information which is relevant to tickets for their event then viagogo must take appropriate action in response.
Before tickets go on sale, if an event organiser notifies viagogo that restrictions on use will apply to an event (including restrictions on resale), then viagogo must ensure that this information is displayed to consumers when the tickets go on sale. In addition, if an event organiser informs viagogo that tickets for an event have not been made officially available, viagogo must suspend sales on its website until they are.
Once tickets have gone on sale, if an event organiser notifies viagogo about missing or incomplete information, then viagogo must update or correct the relevant ticket listings. For example, If the event organiser sees that a resale restriction is not being displayed, or that seated tickets are being listed without seat numbers (when those seat numbers have been issued), it can provide details to viagogo, which must then ensure that this information is provided.
viagogo is required to take the following important steps to improve the presentation of its guarantee:
- it must ensure that all exceptions or qualifications which apply to its guarantee are clearly disclosed on it’s website
- it must not reject a claim under the guarantee unless the reason relied on was clearly disclosed at the time of purchase
viagogo must not refuse a claim where a consumer can prove that they have been refused entry, or where the consumer was not told about a restriction on resale when they bought the ticket (and they should have been).
viagogo must also carry out an independently supervised review of unpaid claims made between January 2016 and November 2018 by people who provided viagogo with:
i) evidence that they didn’t get in to an event, or ii) specific evidence from the event organiser that their ticket was invalid.
If the review finds any claims that should have been paid, then viagogo must give the affected person a refund.
Display of information to consumers
The order requires viagogo to make changes to the way that certain information is displayed to consumers.
Ticket listings (including the final check out page) must clearly and prominently disclose information about:
- seat location
- restrictions on use (including restrictions on resale)
- face value
- whether the seller is a business (and if so their details) or connected to the event organiser or viagogo
viagogo must also remove (and not replace) any misleading messages about the availability and popularity of tickets.
In addition, viagogo must not display messages about the availability and popularity of tickets on the pages where the consumer enters their delivery details, their payment details and/or reviews all the details of the ticket(s) selected and confirms their purchase.
Monitoring and reporting
The order requires a system of monitoring and reporting (overseen by an independent third party) be put in place to ensure that viagogo complies with the order. This will involve viagogo:
- demonstrating that the above changes have been successfully implemented
- demonstrating ongoing compliance every year