New Zealand Law Society - Commission to sue ticket resale site Viagogo

Commission to sue ticket resale site Viagogo

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The Commerce Commission says it will be commencing civil proceedings in the High Court against Switzerland-based ticket resale website Viagogo.

The proceedings will be under the Fair Trading Act, and the Commission will be seeking declarations that Viagogo has: breached the Act; an injunction restraining it from further breaches; and corrective advertising orders.

The Commission says it will claim that Viagogo made false or misleading representations:

  • that it was an “official” seller, when it was not
  • that tickets were limited or about to sell out
  • that consumers were “guaranteed” to receive valid tickets for their event
  • about the price of tickets, when its ‘headline’ prices were unobtainable because of the addition of GST and various fees.

The Commission says it will also allege that Viagogo’s contract includes an unfair contract term. The term states that all disputes brought by a consumer must be heard in Swiss courts under Swiss law, but Viagogo can choose to take court action against consumers in the consumer's own country.

Viagogo also faces court or enforcement action in Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Australia. It has been fined in Italy and sued by FIFA. Since the beginning of 2017 the Commission has received more than 400 complaints about Viagogo, making it the most complained-about trader in that period.

“We acknowledge that this has been a longstanding investigation, and in large measure that is because of the complexity of pursuing a case against an online trader based offshore. We are pleased to have progressed matters to the point where we are now able to launch proceedings,” says Stuart Wallace, the Commission’s Head of Consumer.

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