If you’ve purchased tickets from ticket reseller Viagogo for the Yamba Paul Kelly concert, don’t bother turning up because your ticket will not be honoured.
Lynne Seccombe from Coffs Harbour-based agent Offbeat Operations Entertainment said she will be checking tickets at the door.
The Yamba Bowling Club’s manager, Phil Boughton, said he “rang the agent straight away” when he discovered the tickets were being resold online at much higher prices.
“They said, ‘put out as much communication as you can that those tickets won’t be honoured’,” Mr Boughton said.
It took just six minutes to sell out the tickets for the upcoming August 14 show.
One disappointed punter contacted the Independent saying he’d Googled “Paul Kelly Yamba tickets” and the first hit was an advertisement for Viagogo, plugging tickets across multiple venues for the tour.
On that day tickets for the Yamba concert were more than $500; on Friday June 11 they were priced at $924 each (significantly more than Viagogo’s statement that tickets must not to exceed 110 per cent of original purchase price) – and Viagogo incorrectly advertises the venue as having a 1,000 seat capacity; only 400 tickets were available.
The ABC reported in July 2019 that “Google has taken action against controversial ticket reselling platform Viagogo, banning it from prime position in search results, following years of complaints from fans and artists about inflated prices and misleading claims”.
Meanwhile, Viagogo is currently appealing a Federal Court ruling that it “pay a penalty of $7 million for breaching the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations when reselling tickets for live music and sports event, in proceedings brought by the ACCC”, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) media release states.
The Switzerland-based secondary ticket seller also lost an appeal, in April this year, against a $4.5m fine in Italy for hosting tickets sold in contravention of Italian law.
The Independent asked the ACCC a series of related questions, including what it was planning to do about this situation.
The ACCC responded with the following statement: “Under the Australian Consumer Law, ticket sellers and ticket resellers are prohibited from engaging in misleading conduct.
“However, ‘ticket scalping’, or buying tickets for the purpose of reselling them at a profit, is not a breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
“Reselling tickets for more than 10 per cent of their face value is also not a breach of the Australian Consumer Law [however, it is in NSW].
“Individual states have specific legislation dealing with ticket resale restrictions and ticket resale price caps.
“Ticket sellers and event organisers are also able to implement processes to try to limit ‘ticket scalping’, such as requiring identification details with ticket purchases and matching these at the door, implementing technologies to detect ticket buying bots or the use of fraudulent credit cards, or providing their own resale facilities.
“The ACCC has taken court action against Viagogo for other misleading conduct or representations in: using the word ‘official’ in Viagogo’s Google advertisements and failing to adequately disclose that it was not a primary ticket seller; making part price representations on the payment page of its website without also specifying the total single price for the relevant event; its representations about the price of tickets on particular pages of its booking process, and the quantity of tickets available for specific events; and,
“As the Viagogo court proceedings are still ongoing we are unable to comment further.”
The NSW Fair Trading Act 1987 implemented laws on June 1, 2018, outlining that “advertisements for resale tickets must specify the original cost of the ticket and a resale price, [which] is no more than 10 per cent above the original cost.
“The advertisement must also include any bay, row or seat number that applies to the ticket.”
Frontier Touring comments on Paul Kelly ticket sales
Meanwhile, Frontier touring, the company promoting Paul Kelly’s tour, responded with the following (edited) statement.
“Paul’s shows sold out in nearly every market of this tour run immediately; we expected demand would outweigh supply.
“Like the majority of music fans out there we are passionately anti-scalping and have campaigned long and hard on this issue.
“As the promoter, we have measures in place to discourage scalping – limits on the number of tickets that can be purchased in one transaction, cancellation of multiple purchases, auditing of suspicious account activity and constant messaging around the dangers of purchasing tickets via non-authorised platforms such as Viagogo.
“NSW also has laws on ticket reselling [laws that] transactions costs are capped at 10 per cent of the original ticket cost.
“Unfortunately we [Frontier Touring] are limited in what action can be taken from our end, other than identifying fraudulent tickets on the night of the event and refusing those patrons entry.
“We continue to talk with governments at both a state and federal level, with regards to Viagogo and similar platforms being held accountable for the listings.
“Currently they claim they are just the platform and not the seller and are therefore not breaking any laws.
“We maintain that it is like a car dealer knowingly selling a stolen car and not being held in any way accountable because they weren’t the ones to actually steal the car.”
The NSW Department of Fair Trading and Viagogo were contacted close to the paper’s editorial deadline; subsequent responses received will be published in next weeks’ Independent and on the website during the interim period.
Late news – Statement from Viagogo
Viagogo provided the following statement on Wednesday June 16, in response to the Independent’s enquiry.
“Viagogo provides a valuable service for Australian fans to sell tickets they can no longer use and buy tickets to events they may have missed out on.
“We do not buy or sell tickets. Prices for tickets listed on our platform are set by sellers and may be below or above face value.
“We have processes in place to ensure listings are compliant, and act quickly to remove any listings if notified or otherwise made aware of a valid concern.
“We encourage event organisers to contact us directly using our event organiser portal, should they have any queries or concerns relating to their event.
“Viagogo is committed to complying with legislation in all markets we operate in and working closely with regulators.”
A viagogo spokesperson said: “viagogo has taken prompt action to remove tickets from our platform that do not comply with the state’s regulatory regime.
“viagogo is committed to complying with legislation in all markets we operate in, including NSW, and when we are notified of listings that are not compliant, we act quickly to remove them. We look forward to continuing to productively engage with regulators to ensure that our website is compliant and the safe and transparent marketplace we offer continues to help customers gain access to events worldwide.”