Competition watchdog warns Viagogo court action will continue


The competition regulator has warned Viagogo that contempt of court proceedings against it will continue, despite a legal ruling that the controversial ticket resale company has hailed as a victory.

Viagogo said it was “delighted” after a judge ruled it had complied with a court order obtained by the Competition and Markets Authority last year, ordering it to display clear information on its website about the face value of its tickets, typically sold at large mark-ups.

The verdict appeared to be a boost for the company, a day after Google suspended its adverts in the light of claims by regulators and campaigners about persistent breaches of consumer law.

However, the CMA said the ruling only related to a small element of its legal case against Viagogo, claiming that the firm was still not complying with most of the order.

The order contains a litany of demands, including: that the website display clear information about touts selling tickets on the site; to stop pressure-selling tactics; and publish seat details, so that consumers can see what they are buying.

“Today’s judgment does not mean that Viagogo is compliant with the court order the CMA secured against it,” the regulator said.

“We still think that Viagogo is breaching parts of the order and so continue to move forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against the site in relation to those concerns.

Viagogo said that its victory on one point of dispute with the CMA undermined the regulator’s credibility on the court order’s other details.

The ticket resale site had earlier celebrated a judge’s verdict that permits it to give information about the face value of seats by using “hover-over” text, where price details appear when a web user moves their cursor over the ticket listing.

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Viagogo’s managing director, Cris Miller said the court hearing “demonstrates that there are matters of interpretation of the order on which the CMA should not and cannot be relied upon to make the final determination”.

“It is clear there remains continued, yet unfounded, resistance from the CMA to our role in the market.”

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But the CMA said Viagogo, which has been accused of exploiting fans of popular artists such as Arctic Monkeys and Adele, was overstating the judge’s verdict.

“Importantly, today’s judgment confirms that Viagogo cannot use ‘hover-over text’ unless specifically allowed by the order and it needs to stop displaying important information about deadlines under its guarantee in this way,” the regulator said.

“Although the court found that information about face-value prices can be displayed with ‘hover-over’ text on one page of the site, Viagogo must still display this information on two other separate places on the face of its website.”



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