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German court orders Viagogo to stop selling Rammstein tickets

By | Published on Friday 23 November 2018

Rammstein

Pressure continues to pile upon the always controversial secondary ticketing site Viagogo, this time through a court ruling in Hamburg in relation to a Rammstein tour.

According to IQ, the band have secured an injunction that forbids Viagogo from allowing tickets for their 2019 German tour from being sold on its platform. The court order also bans the resale site from asserting that any tickets sold on the site for the upcoming Rammstein shows are “valid”.

Promoters employing proactive anti-touting campaigns around their tours have become increasingly vocal of late about their intent to cancel any tickets that they know have been resold by a tout. The terms and conditions of tickets usually allow promoters to do this. The hope is always that – by getting the word out about this plan – fans will steer clear of the tout sites when seeking tickets for shows.

By implementing policies of this kind, some promoters have managed to persuade eBay’s StubHub and – while they were still in business – Live Nation’s Seatwave and Get Me In! to block the listing of touted tickets for certain tours. The logic being that, because the resale sites offer a money-back guarantee where tickets don’t get a customer into a show, it’s in their interest to block listings, otherwise they’ll just have to issue a load of refunds.

Needless to say, Viagogo has never agreed to block listings on this basis. Whenever promoters shout loud about their plan to cancel touted tickets, Viagogo insists that all the tickets on its platform are nevertheless “valid”, and gets rather annoyed when promoters say otherwise.

Of course, that depends to an extent on your definition of “valid”. Viagogo argues that promoters often don’t actually cancel very many touted tickets even when they say they will, partly because it can be hard to work out which tickets have actually been resold (although in theory, in the UK at least, consumer rights law should make it easier to spot tickets that have been sold on).

Because some or many touted tickets haven’t actually been cancelled, Viagogo argues those tickets are still “valid”. Though under the terms and conditions of most tickets, the minute a resale occurs that ticket becomes “invalid” legally speaking, even if it hasn’t actually been cancelled and would therefore still get a customer into a show. These differing definitions of “valid” and “invalid” are part of Viagogo’s dispute with Ed Sheeran’s UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live over its very prolific anti-touting campaign.

Either way, Viagogo won’t voluntarily delist tickets from its platform at the request of promoters. Which is why it’s interesting that Rammstein and their promoter MCT Agentur have been able to secure an injunction ordering the controversial site to fall in line. Not that it has. Plenty of tickets for Rammstein’s 2019 German shows are still on sale on Viagogo.de.

Nevertheless, legal reps for the band have welcomed the ruling, telling reporters that “the court’s decision is a warning signal to anyone who thinks they can resell massively overpriced and invalid Rammstein tickets”.

Viagogo, of course, is facing legal action in multiple countries over allegations it routinely misleads customers into thinking they are buying tickets from official agents, rather than touted tickets that might be cancelled. In the UK, Australia and New Zealand that legal action is being pursued by government agencies, while in Germany the country’s live music trade organisation has been threatening to go legal.



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