Australian product testing and review company CHOICE just announced the “winners” of its 12th annual Shonky Awards, which aims to “name and shame the shonkiest products and companies taking advantage of Australian consumers”. Viagogo was one of eight winners highlighted this year. Its award? “The Shonky Award for…Dodgy practices that tick off consumers”.
“CHOICE’s annual awards name and shame the shonkiest products and companies taking advantage of Australian consumers”, the website states. They define the Aussie slang shonky: “unreliable, unsound, dishonest, poor or of dubious quality; shoddy”. Criteria for nomination include: poor performance, poor value for money, false claims or broken promises, hidden charges, or lack of transparency, among others. CHOICE says that it then narrows down and tests nominated products, and that “shonkiness has to be objectively quantifiable or measurable”.
CHOICE claims to have received “hundreds of reports” from customers upset by their experience with Swiss ticketing company Viagogo. “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.”
The Shonky Award goes on to cite “pressure sales tactics”, confusion, omission of details, “notoriously difficult” customer service, and invalid tickets are further reasoning for the worst-product win.
“The Viagogo site says you can get in touch up to three months after an event, but to receive the “Viagogo Guarantee” you must contact them within 14 days of receiving your tickets or within 48 hours of an event. These “guarantees” can cause confusion because they contradict the Australian Consumer Law, which stipulates no such time limits (other than what is “reasonable”). Whether it’s 14 days or 140 days, if a major failure occurs then consumers have the right to a refund.”
Viagogo was recently taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after receiving over 400 complaints in one year from consumers. The consumer watchdog says Viagogo is breaking Australian law by failing to disclose significant fees upfront, leaving out crucial details such as ticket type and seat number, and claiming to be “official” despite being an unaffiliated resale platform.
Viagogo is the first product or company listed in the 2017 Shonky Awards “Hall of Shame”, followed by a Samsung washer/dryer, Nature’s Way Vitamin Gummies, Cuddly Sensitive Fabric Softener, and more.
Following it’s brutal “dodgy practices” award description, CHOICE states that, “for all these reasons we’re giving Viagogo a one-way ticket to Shonkyville.”