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Viagogo wins consumer rights award

By | Published on Friday 6 October 2017


Viagogo can seem somewhat embattled at times, as people complain about dodgy advertising, surprise fees, invalid tickets and almost non-existent customer service. But now the secondary ticketing site has won an award! And one from a consumer rights organisation too. So congratulations to Viagogo for yesterday picking up a Shonky Award “for dodgy practices that tick off consumers”.

The Shonkies are handed out annually by Australian consumer advocacy group Choice (basically the Aussie version of Which?). To qualify, a company must fit one or more of the following criteria: flaws, faults or failed a standard; lack of transparency; false claims or broken promises; consumer detriment or confusion; poor value for money; and/or has the propensity to outrage or amuse.

Viagogo,¬†reckons Choice, managed to meet every single one of those, and so takes the top spot in this year’s awards, which also saw prizes handed out to Honda, Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Mazda and Samsung, among others.

“Choice has received hundreds of reports from concertgoers who are ticked off after dealing with Swiss ticketing company Viagogo”, says Choice. “Advertising seats to major events such as Adele and ZZ Top through Google’s AdWords network, the ticket reseller engages in illegal drip pricing, commonly creates confusion for consumers, fails to respond to complaints and has a ‘customer guarantee’ that’s about as reliable as a scalper in a back alley”.

Unpopular with authorities and customers alike in many countries where it operates, Viagogo has recently drawn a lot of heat in Australia Рnot least after reports of hundreds of people being turned away from various events, having turned up with invalid tickets purchased from the website.

In August, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission announced it was taking Viagogo to court over allegations it had made false or misleading representations, and has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct. The regulator criticised the secondary ticketing firm for failing to disclose its massive 27.6% booking fee, for misleading consumers about how many tickets were still available for any one show, and for its dubious use of the word ‘official’ when buying its way to the top of Google searches.

At a state level, two Australian ministers spoke out against the ticket resale company as well. In New South Wales, Minister For Better Regulation Matt Kean criticised the firm for failing to respond to his state’s Fair Trading office, which was investigating various complaints filed by consumers. Meanwhile over in Queensland, the state’s Attorney-General and Minister For Justice Yvette D’Ath told reporters: “The number of complaints received and the failure of Viagogo to attempt to resolve them is very concerning”.

Viagogo hasn’t responded to the announcement that it’s won this big award yet because, well, Viagogo doesn’t really do responding to things anymore.