UK-based secondary ticket company viagogo recently won a legal victory that will allow the company to appeal a ruling that would have forced it to turn over the names and personal information of resellers Rugby Football Union tickets (RFU).
The RFU originally sought the names of resellers because the league prohibits the resale of tickets above face value, and it made the unique argument that after the tickets were resold those who bought them were trespassers. The league wanted the names of the resellers to piece together the transactions and determine who the alleged violators were.
In its defense, viagogo refused to turn over the names and argued that to do so would be a violation of privacy, and added that turning over resellers’ name would not give the RFU adequate information on the buyers. The High Court reviewed the matter and said the company had the right to appeal the decision to turn over the names.
“We are delighted that we have been granted the right to appeal,” Ed Parkinson, UK director of viagogo, told TicketNews in a statement. “This is a victory for common sense and the rights of consumers to have their personal information safeguarded. As we’ve said, no customer information has been shared, and we are confident that no customer information will ever be shared. It is disappointing that the RFU continues to invest their resources in preventing their fans from recouping the cost of spare tickets, which simply highlights their outdated views and redundant policies.”
Unlike in the U.S. where ticket resale is widely accepted, if not always supported, in many quarters throughout the UK resale is frowned upon, sentiments that viagogo, Seatwave and the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA) are working to change.
The challenge will be a difficult one. The RFU has vowed to continue to fight to have the names revealed, and separately, the UK ticket resale industry is also the target of government legislators who seek to impose strict new laws to regulate it.
“We have consistently said that any Twickenham Stadium match ticket which appears for sale on viagogo is effectively a ‘black market’ ticket on the basis that the person selling it is breaking the ticket terms and conditions,” Paul Vaughan, business operations director for the RFU, said in a statement. “Whilst we note the permission to appeal, we consider the original judgment of His Honour Judge Tugendhat to be clear and we will continue to take the strongest stance possible against these secondary ticketing marketplaces to do our utmost to ensure that tickets go to genuine fans rather than people who wish to profit.”