New Zealand Law Society - Commission plans next step against ticket seller following High Court decision

Commission plans next step against ticket seller following High Court decision

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The Commerce Commission has failed in the High Court in its initial application for an interim injunction against online ticket seller Viagogo.

The Commission sought an interim injunction to prohibit website representations by the Swiss-based ticket resale website which the Commission alleges are misleading.

The High Court at Auckland has held that it had no jurisdiction to determine the injunction application at this time, because Viagogo has not been formally served. Viagogo has declined to accept service of the court proceedings in New Zealand. Service by diplomatic channels will take months, the Commission has said in a statement.

“We knew this was not an easy course but we had hoped to get interim orders to protect New Zealand consumers until we could have the court hear our substantive case against Viagogo. Our focus remains on preparing for the main hearing against Viagogo,” says the Commission’s Chairman Mark Berry.

“The fact the court did not make orders limiting Viagogo’s website claims makes it even more important that consumers take steps to protect themselves. We urge ticket buyers to purchase from official ticket websites. Avoid clicking on the first internet search result you see for an event. Scroll down the page and find the official ticket outlet or if you aren’t sure visit the artist’s website to find out who the official ticket seller is,” says Dr Berry.

A date for the substantive hearing for the Commission’s case against Viagogo has yet to be set by the court.

The interim injunction sought to prohibit Viagogo from making claims on its website which the Commission alleges are misleading about the scarcity of tickets; the price of tickets; and guaranteed validity of tickets.

In addition, the Commission says its substantive case also seeks:

  • a declaration that Viagogo breached the Fair Trading Act by claiming to be an “official” ticket seller, and orders that it take out advertising to correct that claim
  • a declaration that a particular clause of Viagogo’s terms and conditions is an unfair contract term. The clause gives Viagogo the right to bring proceedings against consumers either in Switzerland or New Zealand at Viagogo’s discretion, but requires that New Zealand consumers bring proceedings against Viagogo in Switzerland under Swiss law.
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