Viagogo

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viagogo
Private
Industry E-commerce
Founded London, UK (2006)
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Key people
Eric Baker, founder and CEO
Products Online secondary ticketing, online ticket exchange
Website www.viagogo.com

Viagogo (stylised as lowercase viagogo) is an online ticket marketplace for ticket resale. The company, which was founded in London in 2006, has a network of more than 60 global websites with customers in 160 countries. Viagogo is backed by the venture capital investment firm Index Ventures as well as Brent Hoberman, the co-founder and former CEO of Lastminute.com and Lord Jacob Rothschild via his family interests.[1] They have faced criticism for inflating ticket prices and their refusal to work with artists trying to prevent secondary resale.[2]

History

The company was founded in 2006 in London by Eric Baker, the co-founder of US-based StubHub.[3][4][5] It was established to provide an online ticket marketplace that allows consumers to buy and sell tickets to sports, music, theatre and comedy events. Viagogo's launch included partnerships with Chelsea F.C. and Manchester United F.C. offering season ticket holders the chance to sell tickets to matches they could not attend to other club members, without having to lend their season card.[3][6][7] Manchester United ended their commercial agreement with Viagogo in 2011.[8]

In September 2013 Viagogo officially launched in Australia.[9][10][11] The launch was accompanied by two new partnerships with Melbourne-based AFL clubs Collingwood FC and Richmond FC.[12] The same month they commissioned research that revealed that Britons lost £50 million to ticket fraud over a 12-month period[13] and 500,000 Australians have been the victims of ticket fraud, with 85% cases resulting from transactions on eBay and Gumtree.[14]

Partnerships

The company has partnerships with sports properties in football, cricket, rugby, tennis, and wrestling. Under British law, unauthorized re-selling of Premier League and other football tickets is illegal, a restriction introduced by the Government to prevent hooliganism.[15] By working with the Premier League clubs to obtain official authorization, Viagogo is permitted to resell tickets to the clubs it works with.

Viagogo was the official ticket marketplace for the various music festivals in 2013 including the Isle of Wight Festival, the Boyzone Anniversary Tour,[16] Benicassim Festival and Weekend Festival. In 2014, Viagogo partnered with SFX Entertainment[17] and in 2015 they partnered with Soundwave.[18] Ultra Beach Bali and Ultra Japan. In 2016, Viagogo was announced as the official ticketing partner of Ultra Singapore 2016.[19]

In 2012 Viagogo extended its European ticketing agreement with multiplatform sports media company, ESPN.[20]

Criticism

Although Viagogo offers some tickets at face value it is well known for vastly inflating prices for events.[21] They have been accused of trying to manipulate online reviews after hundreds of people complained on Trustpilot that the company had ripped them off.[22][23] They have also faced criticism after they resold charity tickets to an Ed Sheeran cancer benefit concert at highly inflated prices.[24]

In February 2018, Viagogo was found to market tickets for a non-existent event of a famous Hungarian stand-up comedian for about twice the normal price.[25]

In early 2011, Viagogo sold personalized tickets for the band Take That's 2011 tour to German customers. A number of people were not able to enter the concerts in Hamburg and Munich.[26] A German court banned viagogo from claiming that the validity of the Take That tickets is “100% guaranteed”.[27]

They were involved in a legal battle with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after they sold tickets the RFU had explicitly forbidden resale for profit. Viagogo lost the initial trial and an appeal in the lower courts in December 2011,[28] resulting in the issuing of a Norwich Pharmacal Order.

In November 2012, fake tickets to the Mumford & Sons concert in Portsmouth with a face value of £23.50 were sold for up to £200 on Viagogo's secure marketplace. Viagogo responded in an interview with the BBC to say that this was a rare occurrence and all buyers would soon be offered a refund or tickets to a future concert.[29]

In August 2017 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched legal action against Viagogo with "allegations it made false or misleading representations, and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by failing to disclose substantial fees included in the price of tickets."[30]

In 2018 a large number of fake tickets were sold by Viagogo for Bruno Mars at $700 per ticket in Auckland New Zealand. The New Zealand Commerce Commission are taking Viagogo to court because of several complaints.[31]

A Class Action suit was filed against the company in Israel.[32]

The company is the only ticket resale site to have refused to work with Arctic Monkeys and Ed Sheeran to prevent ticket touts reselling tickets for their tours.[2]

In May 2018, the UK's Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Margot James, told BBC Radio 5 Live listeners planning to buy from secondary ticket sites, "don't choose Viagogo - they are the worst".[33] She gave this advice after the Advertising Standards Authority asked National Trading Standards to investigate Viagogo's alleged breaches of UK advertising rules about making any additional fees clear.[33] The Advertising Standards Authority has since withdrawn their referral and Viagogo is no longer under investigation by trading standards after complying with the ASA ruling.[34]

In August 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority confirmed it would be seeking court action against Viagogo following concerns that it is breaching consumer protection law.[35]

Legal and government actions

This table lists known legal actions that Viagogo is/has been involved in.

Date Case description Outcome
Nov '18 Hamburg court issues injunction against Viagogo: Rammstein 2019 European Tour [36]
Sept '18 Viagogo sues Ed Sheeran promoter Kilimanjaro Live for fraud[37]
May '18 UK Advertising Standards Authority refers their ongoing case against Viagogo to Trading Standards[38]
April '18 Hamburg court issues injunction against Viagogo: FIFA World Cup 2018[39]
April '18 Viagogo Fined One Million Euros In Italy[40]
April '18 Viagogo investigated in Spain[41]
Feb '18 Spain opens fraud probe[42]
Jan '18 FIFA obtains preliminary injunction against viagogo[43]
Dec ‘17 German court bans Viagogo from claiming tickets are guaranteed[44]
Dec ‘17 French Authorities FRC files a complaint against Viagogo in Geneva[45]
Dec ‘17 French authorities order Viagogo to end 'deception'[46]
Nov ‘17 UK Competition and Markets Authority builds case against Viagogo[47]
Sept ‘17 Swiss Government builds case against Viagogo[48]
Aug ‘17 Australian Governmentbuilds case against Viagogo[49]
Feb ‘17 Viagogo hit by multiple Spanish legal actions[50]
Feb ‘17 Italian Society of Authors and Publishers in legal blitz against Viagogo[51]
Nov ‘17 UK Government (All Party Parliamentary Group) on Ticket Abuse[52]
Nov ‘17 UK Government (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee) Ticket Abuse Inquiry[53]
Nov ‘16 HMRC targets secondary ticket industry[54]
Jul ‘16 UEFA files criminal complaint against Viagogo for illegal ticket sales at Euro 2016[55]
Nov ‘12 Rugby Football Union takes legal action over unlawful ticket sales[56]

Legislation

In the UK, Labour MP Sharon Hodgson's proposal that legislation be introduced to cap resell prices at face value +10% was rejected by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.[57] After the company failed to appear before the Culture, Media And Sport select committee of the UK parliament in March 2017 Hodgson, accompanied by fellow committee member Nigel Adams, visited its London Headquarters, 71 Fenchurch Street, 7th, in July 2017 but the party was turned away.[58][59]

References

  1. ^ "viagogo Raises Over $20MM From Investors Led by Index Ventures". Index Ventures. Archived from the original on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b How Ed Sheeran is tackling ticket touts BBC News, 22 May 2018
  3. ^ a b Auchard, Eric (17 August 2006). "European sports ticket reseller Web site unveiled". Reuters. Retrieved 2006-08-20. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ The Times (18 August 2006). "Football ticket resales kick off". The Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 2006-08-20.
  5. ^ Sweney, Mark (18 August 2006). "Clubs launch ticket resale site". The Guardian. Guardian Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 2006-08-20.
  6. ^ "Tackling the touts". bbc.co.uk. BBC Manchester. 18 August 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
  7. ^ "Ticket exchange: clubs target touts". ITN News. 18 August 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2006. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Why can't we sell unused Manchester United season tickets any more?". The Guardian. 9 Sep 2011.
  9. ^ "Team ticket to growth for viagogo". Australian Financial Review. 17 Sep 2013.
  10. ^ "Ticket exchange stresses fairness". The Australian. 17 Sep 2013.
  11. ^ "viagogo Ticket Market Launches in Australia". Wall Street Journal Australia. 17 Sep 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-10-10.
  12. ^ "viagogo Partners with Melbourne-based AFL clubs". AdNews. 18 Sep 2013.
  13. ^ "Ticket scams on the rise, warns new study – Which? News". Which.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  14. ^ Hamish Barwick (2013-09-17). "500K Australians scammed by dodgy ticket sellers: survey". Computer World. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  15. ^ "Q&A: Ticket touting". BBC News. 16 April 2007.
  16. ^ "Viagogo and Giddings link strengthened with Isle of Wight partnership". Musicweek.com. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  17. ^ "LiveStyle, Inc". Investor.sfxii.com. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  18. ^ Reid, Poppy. "Exclusive: Soundwave partners with ticket marketplace viagogo - The Music Network". Themusicnetwork.com. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  19. ^ Lawrence, Jesse. "High Ticket Demand Expected For ULTRA Singapore 2016". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  20. ^ "viagogo & ESPN Extend Partnership". musicweek.com. October 2012.
  21. ^ Davies, Rob (2016-09-23). "High prices, low profile – what we know about Viagogo". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  22. ^ Davies, Rob (2017-02-28). "Viagogo accused of trying to manipulate online reviews". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  23. ^ Davies, Rob (2017-02-14). "Viagogo accused of sitting on refunds after overcharging for tickets". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  24. ^ Davies, Rob (2017-02-17). "Viagogo condemned over Ed Sheeran cancer benefit concert tickets". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  25. ^ "Fake tickets for Adam Kiss' show". index.hu (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  26. ^ "Viagogo: Hintergründe zu fehlerhaften Take That-Tickets" [Viagogo:Background circumstances about faulty Take That-tickets] (in German). Netzwelt. 5 August 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  27. ^ "Decision by District Court Hamburg" (JPEG). Slideshare.net. Hamburg District Court. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  28. ^ "RFU wins court order to help identify Twickenham ticket touts". The Guardian. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  29. ^ "Mumford & Sons fans stung by fake Portsmouth tickets". BBC News. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  30. ^ Lucy Cormack (28 August 2017). "ACCC takes Viagogo to court over alleged consumer law breaches". Smh.com.au. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  31. ^ "Commerce Commission taking online ticket resale website viagogo to court". Stuff (Fairfax) New Zealand. 15 August 2018.
  32. ^ Action, Viagogo Class. "together we stand, divided we fall". Viagogo Class Action. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  33. ^ a b Johnston, Chris (30 May 2018). "Don't buy tickets from Viagogo, minister warns". BBC News Online. BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  34. ^ Practice, Advertising Standards Authority | Committee of Advertising. "ASA secures changes to viagogo's website – misleading pricing information removed and costs now clearly displayed and transparent to consumers". www.asa.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  35. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45367911
  36. ^ "Rammstein tour: German court forbids Viagogo resale | IQ Magazine". IQ Magazine. 2018-11-22. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  37. ^ "Viagogo Launches Legal Action Against Ed Sheeran Promoter Over Alleged Fraud". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  38. ^ Practice, Advertising Standards Authority | Committees of Advertising. "ASA refers viagogo AG to National Trading Standards for misleading advertising". www.asa.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  39. ^ "FIFA World Cup 2018 tickets being listed illegitimately – Which? News". Which? News. 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  40. ^ "Viagogo Fined One Million Euros In Italy, Investigated In Spain". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  41. ^ "Viagogo Fined One Million Euros In Italy, Investigated In Spain". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  42. ^ País, El (2018-02-14). "Spain opens fraud probe after online resale of U2 concert tickets for more than €900". El País. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  43. ^ FIFA.com. "2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ - News - FIFA obtains preliminary injunction against viagogo - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  44. ^ "0711 decision by district court hamburg". www.slideshare.net. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  45. ^ "La FRC dépose une plainte contre Viagogo à Genève". Le Temps (in French). Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  46. ^ "French authorities order Viagogo to end 'deception' | IQ Magazine". IQ Magazine. 2017-12-07. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  47. ^ "Secondary ticketing websites". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  48. ^ SECO, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. "Civil actions against Luxstyle and Viagogo". www.seco.admin.ch. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  49. ^ Commission, Australian Competition and Consumer (2017-08-28). "ACCC takes ticket reseller Viagogo to court". Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  50. ^ "Viagogo hit by multiple speculative selling suits | IQ Magazine". IQ Magazine. 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  51. ^ "SIAE in legal blitz against touts, Viagogo | IQ Magazine". IQ Magazine. 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  52. ^ "News". ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON TICKET ABUSE. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  53. ^ "Ticket abuse inquiry". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  54. ^ Izundu, Chi Chi (2016-11-30). "HMRC targets secondary ticket industry". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  55. ^ Davies, Rob (2016-07-08). "Uefa takes action against Viagogo over illegal Euro 2016 ticket sales". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  56. ^ Jones, Rupert (2012-11-21). "Court ruling raises questions over future of ticket resale websites". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  57. ^ "Government may reconsider secondary ticketing legislation – but only if OFT investigation 'demonstrates market failure'". Music Week. 1 March 2012.
  58. ^ Davies, Rob (21 March 2017). "Viagogo snubs MPs' inquiry into online ticket reselling". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  59. ^ Neate, Rupert (20 July 2017). "MPs threatened with arrest after protest at Viagogo office in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
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