It’s no secret that music fans (and even the state government) aren’t too keen on the ticket resale company Viagogo, but now it seems that the company’s reputation has taken another hit, with an undercover investigation in the UK seemingly catching the company selling tickets that don’t actually exist to eager fans.
Over the last month, Ed Sheeran has been making headlines for his new stance on ticket resellers, which has seen countless tickets to his current UK stadium tour cancelled as a way to ensure that fans don’t pay more than face value for them.
“I hate the idea of people paying more than face value for tickets when you can get them at face value,” explained Sheeran to the BBC’s Newsbeat. “People just need to start taking a stance and within two or three years companies like Viagogo are just going to be kaput.”
The method being undertaken at Ed Sheeran’s recent gigs involves promoters going through and ensuring that tickets sold through secondary services are cancelled. Then, as the fan tries to use these tickets at the door to gain entrance, they are given the chance to attempt to claim their money back from sites such as Viagogo and the ability to buy new tickets at face value. While it’s a win for the consumer on paper, many have criticised this new stance.
However, a new investigation by ITV has resulted in surprising footage of a man who claims to work for Viagogo who says he was tasked with buying tickets from scalpers to fulfil existing customer orders at Sheeran’s Wembley Stadium gig.
“According to him, he’d been sent out by Viagogo with empty envelopes in order to try and get tickets on the ground here today,” explained security expert Reg Walker, whose job is to identify scalpers at Sheeran’s gigs.
“So, effectively, you have 40 people expecting tickets that thought they had bought genuine tickets off Viagogo when in fact the tickets didn’t even exist.”
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ITV spoke to a number of individuals who had bought tickets through Viagogo and had been told to pick them up from the concert, only to find out that they didn’t exist.
“We bought tickets in November and they say they will send it to us. And they didn’t. And then they say come to this hotel,” explained one of two fans who had travelled to London from Israel for the concert. “I rang the seller yesterday, he said I’ll meet you tomorrow between 3 and 8pm and got here today. There’s no tickets,” the other confirmed.
“It is very clear that Viagogo did not have these tickets and the purchaser has not been made aware of that,” explained Reg Walker. “That’s an emission under consumer protection regulations which means that, if you’d have told the purchaser, give us your money, we don’t have the tickets but we’ll go out and find them, what’s the chances of the person buying those tickets the answer is zero.”
“At the thick end of the wedge its fraud, they’re falsely representing the fact that these tickets exist and they’re up for sale on this website and they clearly weren’t,” he continued. “We’ll be making a formal complaint to police, we’ll also be evidencing this with the competitions and markets authority and asking for a criminal investigation.”
“It is fraud for Viagogo to allow tickets to be sold that don’t exist. We will investigate whether companies like Viagogo are still selling tickets that either don’t exist or will be confiscated at venues,” stated MP Damian Collins.
“The message from this investigation is very clear do not trust ticket companies like Viagogo.”
According to ITV, Viagogo has not yet responded to these allegations put against them.