"Don't Use Viagogo" - MPs Warn Ticket Buyers

by Matt Galliford, Mar 19, 2019

Action is being called upon by the government to stop resale sites like Viagogo from ripping off music fans.

The tout doesn't just exist outside tube stations or infesting the Facebook event looking to make a tidy sum on their unwanted tickets. Legitimate resale sites are often the worst for abusing the consumer's desire to go to a show by hiking the secondary market resale price to produce absurdly high profits. 

We all know the struggle: wake up, set an alarm, open the ticket seller's site in multiple tabs, refresh, refresh. And not even a minute past the hour that tickets go live... sold out. Too late. Too slow. Who are these fortunate people and what time did they set their alarm?! More importantly, ask yourself, why are so many people wanting to sell their Wonka like "Golden Ticket" on Viagogo instantly after they bought it?

Reports uncovered one of the largest ticket sellers in the world, Ticketmaster, of 'secretly providing scalpers with bot software' in 2018. Tickets seamlessly went from face value first release sale on Ticketmaster directly to secondary on their resale website, Get Me In, for a substantially higher cost to the consumer. Ticketmaster subsequently closed their resale sites and opened their own 'Ticket Exchange' service shortly after. 

Today, the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport select committee have called out ticket resale site, Viagogo, for being what live music fans have described as "misleading" and a "rip-off". The report recommends that the Competition and Markets Authority “acts promptly and decisively to bring Viagogo into line with consumer law" and "advise the public not to buy or sell tickets via Viagogo". Tickets for an Ed Sheeran show face valued for £85 were found to be advertised on Viagogo for resale at £1,429.

In 2018, Google was 'urged to stop accepting money from Viagogo to place the ticket website at the top of its search rankings'. The resale site has invested heavily into their Google Adwords campaign to cement their place at the top of Google searches for live music tickets ensuring they are the first link consumers see.

Whilst ticket resale services such as Twickets, and Ticketswap, are leading the way in ensuring there is a market for a fan to fan ticket resale at face value cost, it is now down to the government and Google to do more to prevent Viagogo and other resale ticket markets from abusing their leverage over the consumer.

Read the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee's full report here.

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