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CHOICE welcomes ACCC action against Viagogo

CHOICE says court proceedings highlight need for urgent reform in ticket resale industry

28 August 2017

CHOICE has welcomed the ACCC's decision to take ticket reseller Viagogo to court alleging breaches of Australian Consumer Law, but says the action highlights the need for urgent reform in the industry.

The court case comes after CHOICE referred Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale to the ACCC in March following an investigation into the companies' dodgy pricing practices and marketing claims.

"Our investigation found Viagogo was the worst offender, from dripping in unavoidable fees in its online checkout to incorrectly claiming it has the cheapest tickets on offer," [1] says CHOICE head of media, Tom Godfrey.

"If their pricing issues weren't bad enough, the Swiss-based site markets itself as the 'official' site and claims to provide 'consumer protection'. Both claims are questionable at best and are likely to confuse and disadvantage consumers," says Mr Godfrey.

The confusion continues as reseller websites outbid authorised ticket outlets for top spots in Google search results.

"Even the savviest searchers can get caught out and duped by Viagogo's bold 'official site' claims,"says Mr Godfrey.

CHOICE's investigation also found the website sneaks in hidden booking, handling or VAT fees of up to 25%.

Under Australian Consumer Law companies have to advertise the total price of a product or service. It is illegal to drip in additional fees and charges which result in the advertised price unable to be redeemed. [2]

"While we think it's important that consumers have the right to resell legitimate tickets they can't use, booking your ticket through reseller website shouldn't leave you out of pocket, or worse, turned away," says Mr Godfrey.

CHOICE will announce the findings of its survey on the Australian, New Zealand and UK ticket reseller markets later this week.

"With 2017 a big year for acts like Midnight Oil, Green Day, Adele, Seinfeld and Justin Bieber performing Down Under there seems to be a spike in fans being left out in the cold," Mr Godfrey says.

Tips for buying tickets online:

  •           Sign up for presale ticket alerts to avoid disappointment
  •           Buy tickets directly from the venue or the official ticket seller
  •           Check with the venue about resale restrictions before buying a resold ticket

For more information go to www.choice.com.au

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669