Viagogo ‘are the worst’: minister’s warning over ticket reseller

Margot James joins advertising watchdog and Ed Sheeran to criticise ticket platform

Ed Sheeran and Stormzy team up on stage during the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London
Ed Sheeran and Stormzy performing on stage at the O2 Arena in London during the Brit Awards 
(Image credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The UK’s digital minister has warned consumers away from ticket reselling platform Viagogo, branding it “the worst”.

Margot James made the comments in an interview for BBC Radio 5 live after the Advertising Standards Authority condemned the company for imposing “hidden” fees on customers.

Viagogo and fellow reselling sites StubHub, Seatwave and GetMeIn were criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority in March for failing to clearly display additional costs, such as VAT and booking fees, prior to purchase. This practice, known as “drip pricing”, violates UK advertising laws.

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The ASA announced yesterday that Viagogo had not made the necessary changes and is now classified by the watchdog as a “non-compliant online advertiser”.

“When you can't get a ticket for an event from the primary seller... you've got to go to a secondary site,” James said this morning in what MoneySavingExpert calls a “strongly-worded warning to consumers”.

“There are four choices - just don't choose Viagogo. They are the worst,” she said, adding: “They will have to comply with the law in the end, it's just that the other three big companies have agreed to do so in advance.”

Last week, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran also took aim at Viagogo as he announced a crackdown on platforms which enable touts to buy up tickets to resell them, often at multiple times their face value.

Tickets bought through unauthorised third-party providers will not be accepted on Sheeran’s current UK stadium tour, with 10,000 fans who have purchased resold tickets advised to seek a refund from the reseller or buy face value tickets from official vendors.

Some fans expressed anger at the policy, but the chart-topper said that artists and music-lovers needed to be “strong” on touts and the platforms they use to operate, Sky News reports.

“People just need to start taking a stance and within two or three years companies like Viagogo are going to be kaput,” he said.

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