Consumer Ombudsman: Purchasing tickets from Viagogo entails risks

During the past two years the consumer authorities have been contacted around 500 times about Viagogo, a company supplying tickets to different types of events. According to contacts from consumers, Viagogo’s website contains misleading information about the number and prices of available tickets. The Consumer Ombudsman has investigated the matter, and Viagogo’s operations are also subject to judicial proceedings in Switzerland. The Consumer Ombudsman points out that consumers should carefully consider whether they should do business with Viagogo.

According to the number of contacts addressed to the Consumer Ombudsman and the national Consumer Advisory Service, many consumers have received the impression from Viagogo’s website that it is an official event ticket vendor. This is not the case. Viagogo is a ticket market place established in Switzerland, through which anyone can sell an event ticket they have purchased. The website does not clearly tell consumers that there may be restrictions on buying and using event tickets. Many event organisers, for example, require that a ticket is used by the person by whom it was originally purchased.

According to contacts from consumers, the website has contained misleading information on the number of tickets available to a specific event. Information on the website about the tickets for a specific event running out has only referred to the number of tickets available through Viagogo. As a result, many consumers have ended up paying a higher price for event tickets that would still have been on sale at a normal price on official ticket sales websites.  For example, value-added tax or a handling and/or booking fee have not been included in the ticket prices, but consumers have only become aware of such extra fees when a sum higher than agreed has been charged from their payment cards. In addition, tickets have been on sale on Viagogo’s website for events that do not exist at all. Solving the problems has been complicated by the fact that it has been difficult to contact Viagogo’s customer service.

In 2017, authorities brought civil actions against Viagogo in Switzerland where the company is established, and judicial proceedings are still in progress. The intention is that the court decision in Switzerland would cover all language versions of the website. Consumer Ombudsman also requested Viagogo in October 2017 to provide an account of the problems encountered by consumers and is now waiting for the decision of the Swiss court before taking any further steps in the matter.

Instructions for consumers having purchased tickets from Viagogo

If you have purchased tickets from Viagogo using a debit or credit card and a higher sum has been charged from your account without you having given permission to a payment transaction of that sum, you can issue a complaint to the bank. The bank must refund the sum to the extent there was no consent for charging it. If you have paid the ticket with a credit card, you can also contact the credit provider if the company does not deliver the purchase, sends an incorrect invoice for it, or if the product has a defect for which the seller is liable.

You can also contact the Finnish Consumer Advisory Service for instructions on what to do in the matter. You can contact the Consumer Advisory Service with a digital contact form. The Complaint Assistant helps you in preparing a written complaint to the seller.