October 27, 2017 Katie Gainer
The Australian-based ticket resale site Viagogo has been making headlines lately in the worst way, first receiving an Australia’s worst product award and then facing Federal Court for misleading customers and paying questionably low taxes. Now, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Viagogo had the highest number of complaints registered to the New South Wales Fair Trading complaint register for the second month in a row.
Last month, there were 36 new complaints filed about Viagogo. In August, there were 59- the highest number received about any trader in a single month since the register began almost a year ago, NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said. The register lists any businesses that are the subject of 10 or more complaints in a month.
Kean issued a public warning about Viagogo back in August after complaints about the fees, failure to provide refunds, delayed delivery and event cancellations.
Most complaints relate to the substantial fees added on to ticket purchases and the withholding of fee information until after card information is inputted. In one example given by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission- the organization taking Viagogo to court for consumer deception- the total price for two Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens tickets increased from $450.00 to $579.95 when a $125 booking fee and a $4.95 handling fee were revealed late in the purchasing process.
Customers also allege that Viagogo warns customers of scarce tickets and likely sell-outs, when the reality is that tickets are only scarce on Viagogo specifically, not in the marketplace as a whole.
Another customer complaint came from Simone Mohr, who bought four tickets on Viagogo to see an Adele show in Melbourne after it sold out on Ticketmaster. She paid $3000 in total, including a $448 booking fee. When Mohr and her family arrived at Etihad Stadium, staff told her the tickets had already been refunded by the original buyer and would not be accepted.
Minister Kean said he “won’t tolerate this kind of shonky behaviour, and as the register clearly shows, NSW consumers have had a gutful as well”.