CMA seeks order that viagogo is in contempt of court

July 3, 2019

The Competition and Markets Authority has sent viagogo a letter before action before moving forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against viagogo following concerns it has failed to comply fully with a court order.

It follows several warnings from the CMA that viagogo had not done enough to overhaul the way it presents information on its website to comply with consumer protection law.

In particular, the CMA is still of the view that:

  • the warning viagogo gives to people that tickets with resale restrictions may not get them into an event does not meet the requirements of the order
  • viagogo is still using some misleading ticket availability messages, for example displaying inaccurate claims about the number of tickets left on the site
  • some seat numbers are not being displayed on the website as required
  • in some cases, incomplete addresses of businesses selling tickets are being displayed to consumers.

There has already been a court hearing on a separate issue in relation to a particular part of the order dealing with the use of ‘hover text’ to display the face value of tickets and the deadlines for people to claim for refunds. A hearing took place on 18 June and the CMA is now awaiting the judge’s decision

In November 2018, the CMA secured a court order that obliged the viagogo to overhaul the way it operates its UK website and ensure that it complies with consumer protection law. The order required viagogo to implement the necessary changes, in full, by 17 January 2019.

Since then, the CMA has raised significant concerns that viagogo’s website was not compliant with certain aspects of the order, and in March 2019 announced it was preparing to take legal action for contempt of court. viagogo responded by committing to make further improvements to its website.

The CMA has now completed further checks and considered the findings of an independent review of viagogo’s compliance with the order. Many positive changes have been made, leading to important improvements to the information customers receive when considering whether to buy a ticket, and viagogo paying over £400,000 in refunds to people whose claims it had wrongly rejected.

However, these are not enough, in the CMA’s view, to comply fully with the court order. Therefore, the CMA has notified viagogo that it will be asking a court to find it in contempt of court.