Ticket reseller fined $7 million

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Ticket resale company Viagogo has been forced to pay a fine of $7million for misleading Australian consumers on an “industrial scale”, following the resolution of the long-running case in the Federal Court on May 16.

Viagogo is an online ticket selling platform. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission first took action against the company in 2017 for “making false or misleading representations when reselling tickets for live events”. The company routinely advertised itself as being the “official” seller of tickets; that tickets were scarce; and charged and disguised high booking fees.

The court found against the company in 2019, but Viagogo appealed and was allowed to postpone the payment until now.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims said: “Viagogo’s business practices were unacceptable. Viagogo misled thousands of consumers into buying tickets at inflated prices when they created a false sense of urgency by suggesting tickets were scarce and when they advertised tickets at a lower price by not including unavoidable fees.”

Examples cited included a ticket for the Book of Mormon advertised at $135 but which was sold for $177.45 including booking and handling fees, as well as Ashes cricket tickets advertised at $330.15, but sold for $426.81 after fees were added. Tourists buying tickets from overseas were particularly vulnerable to the practice.

The Court also ordered Viagogo to conduct a compliance program and pay the ACCC’s costs.
Viagogo claims to be the world's largest secondary market place for tickets to live events.

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