Viagogo to face National Trading Standards investigation
Secondary ticketing operator Viagogo is being investigated by National Trading Standards after failing to remove “misleading pricing information” from its site.
The website, which resells tickets for highly sought after theatre, music and sports events, has been referred to Trading Standards by the Advertising Standards Authority. It is accusing Viagogo of not being upfront and clear about additional booking fees and delivery charges that are added at the end of the purchasing process.
This comes as the digital minister, Margot James, warned ticket buyers not to use the site. In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, she said: “Just don’t choose Viagogo, they are the worst.”
Secondary ticketing sites have long been criticised for adding significant booking and delivery fees onto tickets, many of which are already being sold at highly inflated prices.
UK advertising rules state quoted prices must include upfront any additional taxes and fees that apply to all or most buyers, and advertisers must also clearly state delivery fees.
The ASA said despite being given a deadline of May 29 to make changes, Viagogo still does not make clear the total ticket price at the beginning of the booking process, does not include the booking fee up front and does not make the delivery fee clear.
The ASA said it had been made clear to Viagogo that sanctions could be imposed if it did not comply and that National Trading Standards could use its legal power to pursue prosecution or impose fines.
ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Viagogo was given clear warning and handed the opportunity to play fair with consumers by removing misleading pricing information from its website; its failure to do so means it will now face the consequences.”
Viagogo is already facing threats of court involvement by the Competition and Markets Authority over alleged breaches of consumer rights law.
Viagogo has been contacted for comment.