As a member of Fan Fair, a ticketing platform and also as venue operators and event organisers, we see the effects of second-hand ticketing on the frontline. Whether that be consumers paying over-the-odds inflated prices or customers being turned away because of invalid or counterfeit tickets - with few of them ever having hope of being reimbursed. Not a single event goes by without one incident happening. Fortunately, measures are being put in place to help minimise this industry blight moving forward. Yet, more still needs to be done.
Last week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse sent an open-letter to Google demanding that further action be taken against unscrupulous secondary ticket sites, namely Viagogo. Viagogo has continuously manipulated Google’s features to dupe event attendees and exploit the system. Highly unethical, but legal… for the time being.
Although Google launched a new certification system for genuine ticket selling sites at the start of the year, Viagogo is still paying to appear at the top of searches - often when there are still allocations available on primary sites at the face-value.
Furthermore, Viagogo have now twice failed to attend a hearing to present evidence to the panel. As the old saying goes, why the evasion if you have nothing to hide? Their silence speaks volumes.
Google is being asked to tighten up its back-end and erase loopholes that allow Viagogo and the like to thrive. As one of the most recognisable and trusted brands in the world, it doesn’t sit right with us that Google seemingly promotes Viagogo in this manner. It is tantamount to a conflict of interest. If we boil it down, as well as breaching consumer protection law what Viagogo is doing is essentially committing fraud. This needs to stop.
APPG will continue to apply pressure to the relevant bodies to prevent this culture from continuing, as well as fight the corner of consumers who have been left out of pocket. To date, they have helped consumers claim back hundreds of thousands of pounds of lost money. But the fight continues.
The message is simple: if you want to be safe, do not buy from Viagogo. Sadly, Viagogo are far from the only culprits out there. In fact, to err on the side of caution, the safest rule of thumb to adhere to is simply not to use secondary ticket sites at all. These markets only exist because of demand. Cut off their revenue streams, and the problem eliminates itself. Major progress has been made, but there is plenty more still to do. Stay tuned for information on the measures Ticket Tannoy will take to combat secondary ticketing. Together we can eradicate this menace.