The New Zealand Commerce Commission is taking Viagogo to court under the Fair Trading Act.
The regulatory body alleges that the Swiss-based ticket resale site has made false or misleading representations across a range of its business activities, including claims that it was an “official” seller, tickets were limited or were sold out and that consumers were “guaranteed” to receive valid tickets for the event they had paid for.
ComCom will seek declarations in the High Court that Viagogo has breached the Fair Trading Act, along with an injunction restraining it from further breaches and “corrective advertising orders”.
The commission joins a growing number of international enforcement agencies who have brought cases against Viagogo, with the platform facing similar actions in Australia, France, Germany and the UK, as well as its home country of Switzerland.
According to Stuart Wallace, head of the consumer affairs at the commission, the agency has received more than 400 complaints since the beginning of 2017, making it the most complained about company of that period.
“We acknowledge that this has been a longstanding investigation,” he adds. “In large measure that is because of the complexity of pursuing a case against an online trader based offshore. We are pleased to have progressed matters to the point where we are now able to launch proceedings.”
The commission’s move has been welcomed by the watchdog organisation Consumer NZ, which launched its own investigation of the resale market in 2017.
Chief executive Sue Chetwin says many consumers have been duped by Viagogo’s sales practices, which have resulted in fans paying significant mark-ups in prices.