NSW Government warns consumers to avoid viagogo

NSW Government warns consumers to avoid viagogo

Ticket and experiences booking site, viagogo, has been in the NSW Government’s sights amid ongoing complaints from frustrated consumers.

The Minister for Fair Trading, Eleni Petinos, said the warning comes as NSW Fair Trading alleges viagogo has breached the Fair Trading Act (1987) and Australian Consumer Law.

“When it comes to transactions between Australian-based consumers and off-shore businesses, I urge consumers to heed our warnings and refrain from doing business with companies such as viagogo that refuse to comply with Australian law,” Petinos said.

“Since June 2018, consumers have lodged 510 complaints against viagogo with NSW Fair Trading, with many involving tickets being sold at hugely inflated prices.”

“There have also been complaints that viagogo issued consumers with fraudulent or fake tickets, failed to supply consumers with tickets purchased and issued tickets that differed to those advertised or purchased.”

Some of the recent complaints include cases of consumers paying:

  • $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 face value of the tickets 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.

According to Petinos, viagogo refused to meet with NSW Fair Trading to discuss the matters in late 2021. The company also said it could not release details of 15 specific transactions requested by NSW Fair Trading.

“The current investigation shows that despite commitments made by viagogo it is apparent this practice of offering tickets for sale at prices way above their original cost continues to be facilitated through its website,” Petinos said.

“Other complaints have alleged viagogo made false or misleading representations about being an authorised ticket seller for certain events.

“viagogo has also failed to specify, in a prominent way, a single price for tickets advertised for sale.”

The ticket resale website currently has a 1.2 star ranking on productreview.com.au.

Ticket resellers are prohibited from reselling a ticket for more than 10 per cent above the original price in NSW.

Corporations found breaching ticket reselling laws can be fined up to $110,000, while individuals can be fined up to $22,000.

A spokesperson from the company told The Sydney Morning Herald that viagogo took all complaints very seriously.

“Our customers are protected by the viagogo guarantee, which ensures that buyers receive valid tickets in time for the event and if a problem arises, viagogo will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund… We will continue working to make sure our platform is compliant,” the spokesperson said.

Last year, viagogo was charged $7 million by the Federal Court for misleading consumers in Google ads and on its website by suggesting it was an official seller of tickets for entertainment and sporting events.

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