Viagogo has filed a lawsuit against concert promoter Kilimanjaro Live, claiming that the company committed fraud in setting up fake stalls at Ed Sheeran tour stops, inviting fans who purchased tickets legally from the resale company to verify their validity, only to cancel them and force fans to purchase new ones.
The lawsuit comes a day before both companies are due to appear in front of the Department for Media, Culture and Sport select committee, according to the BBC. It comes just days after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced it was taking the Swiss-based resale company to court over its business practices.
Kilimanjaro told The Associated Press that Viagogo’s claims were a “transparent attempt to deflect attention,” from its recent spate of bad press, as well as its upcoming appearance in front of UK authorities. It said it would “defend against this action vigorously and looks forward to doing so in court.”
“The claims made today by Viagogo are ludicrous, laughable, and most importantly totally false.”
The lawsuit, filed in Germany, alleges that Kilimanjaro duped fans by confiscating valid tickets at the entrance to Sheeran performances, forcing them to purchase new tickets, then request refunds from Viagogo after the fact. That this happened is not in dispute. Sheeran was asked about the practice this spring after fan complaints about the policy, but said “It’s being done properly, I’m not stitching fans up. People just need to take a stance. In two or three years companies like Viagogo are going to be kaput.”
Viagogo disagreed, saying at the time that the operation and attempted restriction of the secondary market to Twickets – which is owned by a cadre of industry insiders – was “highly unfair and, in our view, unenforceable and illegal.”
A statement published on twitter by an account purporting to be Viagogo’s press department outlined its claims against Kilimanjaro and how their action amounted to a multimillion pound fraud against consumers aimed at crippling the independent resale marketplace. We reached out to Viagogo’s press office via email requesting confirmation of the document as authentic, but have yet to receive a response.
“All tickets on Viagogo are authentic. Stuart Galbraith set up fake Viagogo booths at venues and conned our customers into believing that their tickets wouldn’t work. He confiscated their legitimate tickets and pocketed millions of pounds by forcing fans to buy new ones.”
The release also alleged that Galbraith “regularly used Viagogo to sell thousands of tickets” despite his anti-resale stance in public, and that his company’s war on resale was simply a reaction to his not being given “preferred terms” on resale.
“We have Stuart on record saying that his artists would “do whatever he told them to do” and that he would go to any lengths to cause chaos for Viagogo customers,” it says. “We can’t believe that Ed Sheeran would knowingly permit his promoter to lie and steal and we can only imagine that Galbraith has been acting fraudulently without his artist’s knowledge.”
An anonymous Twitter account using the handle @Ticket_leaks has published what it calls proof of a number of instances of promoters unloading tickets directly to the resale marketplace, including instances of Kilimanjaro Live doing so for past Ed Sheeran tours. Kilimanjaro admitted as much in response, though it claimed it was due to an error in not realizing that the company it was selling hundreds of tickets to was a secondary ticketing operation rather than a primary seller.
We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.