MPs warn against using Viagogo as Ed Sheeran Ipswich tickets on sale for over £1000
PUBLISHED: 14:58 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:14 20 March 2019
MPs are warning music lovers not to use ticketing site Viagogo until it "fully complies with consumer law".
The caution comes from a report into live music, published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, in which its chairman Damian Collins said the “highly unusual step” in advising consumers to avoid the platform is imperative until it fully complies with consumer law.
The report further claims that Viagogo has “caused distress for too many music fans for too long”.
The online ticketing company has been singled out by MPs in the report, saying that until the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) can bring the site in line with consumer law, “we advise the public not to buy or sell tickets via Viagogo”.
In a statement alongside the publication of the report, MPs said: “We believe that Viagogo has yet to prove itself a trustworthy operator given its history of resisting compliance, court orders and parliamentary scrutiny, and flouting consumer law.”
“We are concerned that while that work takes place, consumers remain vulnerable to the site’s misleading sales practices. It is imperative that the CMA acts promptly and decisively to bring Viagogo into line with consumer law and, until it does so, we advise the public not to buy or sell tickets via Viagogo.”
The caution comes as tickets for Ed Sheeran’s Ipswich gigs this summer remain on sale for up to 14 times their face value with the star’s website having previously said that such tickets would not be valid.
The highest price that could be found on Viagogo was a seat for Sheeran’s Sunday gig which had a face value of £85 but was being advertised for sale at £1,429.
Other standing tickets were being advertised on the same site for up to ten times their face value.
Sheeran’s website states that resale tickets will not be permitted into the venue.
“The reselling of any Ed Sheeran ticket is strictly forbidden other than through the official face value resale platform of your original point of purchase platform.
“Any Ed Sheeran ticket offered for resale elsewhere, either on or offline (including Viagogo or any other unauthorised source including all secondary ticket retail websites), will result in the entire original booking being cancelled.
“The original purchaser and their party will be refused admission and any other purchases they hold will also be cancelled.”
A spokesman for Viagogo said they were disappointed to be singled out and added that they provided an “invaluable service”.
“We are disappointed that the DCMS have singled us out particularly, when hundreds of thousands of British citizens use our service to buy and sell tickets to their favourite live events every day and never experience any problems.
“We provide an invaluable service to UK consumers by giving them access to events in the UK and all over the world.
“For those transactions that fall into the 1% annually where customers do have an issue, the overwhelming majority of cases are due to the unfair and potentially illegal restrictions the event organisers pose simply because customers have chosen to purchase tickets from a competitor of theirs.
“We have been complying and will absolutely continue to work constructively with the CMA to make further amends where necessary, all the while putting all of the buyers and sellers who use the platform first.”
Responding to the concerns about the Ed Sheeran tickets Viagogo said: “All tickets on Viagogo are valid and it is perfectly legal to resell a ticket or give it to someone else if you want to.
“Sellers set the prices, and the reality is that any tickets listed at silly prices rarely if ever sell. Event organisers sometimes make claims that they will deny entry to people who have purchased resold tickets.
“These types of entry restrictions are highly unfair and in our view, unenforceable and illegal.
“Therefore, as with all tickets on our platform, Viagogo customers should feel confident that they will gain entry to the event, and that is why we back every ticket with the Viagogo guarantee.”