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NSW Government urges consumers to avoid buying tickets through Viagogo

The NSW Government has issued a public warning regarding consumers purchasing tickets through Viagogo.

The advice to avoid buying tickets through the Swiss-based ticket reseller follows continued complaints from frustrated consumers.

NSW Fair Trade Minister Eleni Petinos said the public warning comes as NSW Fair Trading alleges Viagogo breached the Fair Trade Act (1987) and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Minister Petinos advised “with regard to transactions between Australian-based consumers and offshore businesses, I urge consumers to heed our warnings and refrain from doing business with companies such as Viagogo who refuse to comply with Australian law.

“Since June 2018, consumers have filed 510 complaints against Viagogo with NSW Fair Trading, many of which involve ticket sales at grossly inflated prices.”

“There have also been complaints that Viagogo issued fraudulent or fake tickets to consumers, failed to provide consumers with purchased tickets, and issued tickets different from those advertised or purchased.”

Recent complaints include paying consumer cases:

  • $287 for two tickets to Paw Patrol when the face value of the tickets was $29, or $58 for two.
  • $356 for two tickets to an event at the Sydney Comedy Festival for which the ticket face value was $32.90, or $65.80 for two.
  • $707 for four tickets to The Wiggles when the face value of the tickets was $43.70 each, or $174.80 for four.

Noting that Viagogo refused to meet with NSW Fair Trading to discuss the issues at the end of 2021, Minister Petinos said the company, citing Swiss law, also said it could not disclose details of 15 specific transactions requested by NSW Fair Trading in a legal notice to provide information.

Minister Petinos added “ongoing investigation shows that despite commitments made by Viagogo, it is clear that this practice of offering tickets for sale at prices well above their original cost continues to be facilitated through its website.

“Other complaints alleged that Viagogo made false or misleading statements about being an authorized ticket seller for certain events.

“Viagogo also failed to prominently specify a single price for tickets advertised for sale.”

In New South Wales, ticket sellers are prohibited from reselling a ticket for more than 10% above the original price for an event held in the state.

If a ticket is sold for more than the authorized limit, the organizer of the event may cancel the ticket and refuse entry to the person holding it.

Companies that violate ticket resale laws can be fined up to $110,000, while individuals can be fined up to $22,000.

NSW Fair Trading announced in July 2021 that Viagogo was being investigated for potential violations of the Fair Trading Act and the ACL.

NSW Fair Trading previously issued a public warning against Viagogo in August 2017.

Anyone who has dealt with Viagogo and is unhappy with their interaction is encouraged to file a complaint with NSW Fair Trading at https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/online- tools/make-a-complaint.

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