Ticket re-selling website Viagogo investigated under WA scalping laws

This announcement is for: 
Consumer
  • Investigation into tickets allegedly sold for more than the allowed 110 per cent.
  • Viagogo urged to do more to prevent illegal ticket sales on their website.
  • Evidence that some tickets on Viagogo are at least double the original price.

Consumer Protection is investigating ticket re-selling website Viagogo for possible breaches of WA’s anti-scalping laws and is alerting WA ticket buyers.

The Switzerland-based company, which operates in Australia via its website www.viagogo.com/au, has attracted a high number of complaints from WA consumers since 2014. The website claims to be an online “marketplace” and a “platform” where people can sell unwanted tickets to concerts and events at a price of their choosing.

WA’s Ticket Scalping Act came into effect on 10 September 2021, making it illegal to re‑sell a ticket to WA concerts and events for more than 110 per cent of its original price. Publishers of advertisements that breach these laws are also liable for prosecution under the Act.

Recent complaints received and investigations carried out by Consumer Protection have identified possible breaches of the anti-scalping laws with regard to tickets being advertised and purchased via the Viagogo website.

These related to illegal mark-ups on advertised tickets to the Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber concerts, Van Gogh Alive exhibition, Harlem Globetrotters game, Super Netball Grand Final game and the Tyler the Creator concert. The tickets were being sold for at least twice the original price and, in one case, nine times higher.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said it’s the obligation of ticket selling websites like Viagogo to identify illegal sales on their sites and quickly remove the offending advertisements.

“Viagogo needs to do more to prevent these ads being posted on their website, as the law is broken as soon as the illegal tickets are made available to the WA public,” Mr Newcombe said.

“While Viagogo has removed some ads that have been brought to their attention by regulators, they need to take proactive measures ideally to detect the ads before they get posted, or have them removed as soon as possible afterwards, without waiting for others to bring them to their attention.

“While our investigation continues, we urge consumers to take this information into consideration when making purchasing decisions for tickets to concerts, sporting and other events in WA.

“A reminder to the sellers who place these ads that they too face prosecution if their profit is more than the ten per cent allowed.

“As always, our recommendation to ticket buyers is to only purchase from the authorised sellers who are promoted in the event’s advertising and by the venue. These official sellers may not always appear at the top of internet searches.

“Buying tickets from unauthorised sources or from re-sellers increases the risk of being refused entry at the venue.”

Public warnings about Viagogo have been issued by three state consumer protection agencies, the most recent being by NSW Fair Trading in January 2022. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took action against Viagogo in August 2017 for making false or misleading representations and, in October 2020, Viagogo was fined $7 million dollars by the Federal Court.

These representations included: claims that Viagogo was the ‘official’ seller of tickets to particular events; that certain tickets were scarce; and advertised prices were inflated by a 27.6 per cent booking fee which was not disclosed until late in the booking process.

Viagogo’s appeal against this decision was dismissed on 18 May 2022.

Consumers who have evidence of possible breaches of ticket scalping laws in WA are urged to lodge a complaint via the Consumer Protection website. Enquiries can be made via email to consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
05 Aug 2022

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