In our spring edition of this contentious business update, we reported on action that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had taken against the secondary ticket seller, Viagogo, for breach of consumer protection law pursuant to Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002. There has been recent further developments regarding this.
In November 2018, the CMA obtained a court order which obliged secondary ticket providers, including Viagogo, to overhaul their websites to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws by 17 January 2019. Following a comprehensive review of all purported changes made by Viagogo (among other secondary ticket providers), the CMA warned Viagogo in March 2019 that it had yet to satisfy its commitments to provide greater and more transparent information in respect of the resale of tickets. The CMA confirmed that should further change be delayed, further legal action would be pursued. Particular concerns voiced by the CMA against Viagogo were as follows:
- The failure to adequately warn people that tickets with resale restrictions may not get them into an event
- Misleading ticket availability
- Missing seat numbers from the website
- Incomplete addresses of businesses selling tickets
On 4 July 2019 the CMA confirmed that while some improvements had been made by Viagogo since it first demanded that it address areas of noncompliance (including the payment of over £400,000 in refunds to customers whose claims had been previously, and incorrectly, rejected), there remained concerns about the way information is presented on its website and its failure to comply fully with the court order obtained by the CMA.
The CMA confirmed that it is serious for a company not to comply with a court order and that it now intends to take further legal proceedings against Viagogo for contempt of court. If granted, the company could face a fine and/or certain individuals could face imprisonment.
Sanctions obtained by the CMA are serious and should not be ignored. Viagogo’s failures to comply may lead to unpleasant consequences for the company and its officers.