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MP Chris Gulaptis

Gulaptis: ‘Fair trading needs a good kick up the arse’

Geoff Helisma

NSW Fair Trading says it will not provide a statement regarding ticket on-seller viagogo’s sale of tickets to shows in NSW for more than the allowed 110 per cent of the original purchase price.

Instead, Fair Trading provided a link to its website – “The relevant information is available at this link Tickets, parties and events | NSW Fair Trading”, with a further paragraph: “This isn’t for quoting but consumers are urged to make a complaint to Fair Trading if they become aware of ticket scalping.

“Complaints = action!”

Last week, the Independent reported that the online ticket reseller was reselling tickets at highly inflated prices to the August 14 Paul Kelly show at Yamba Bowling club.

Subsequent to Fair Trading pointing to the website, it responded in an email: “I don’t think FT [Fair Trading] will have much more to say at this point, I’m afraid.

“The department stands by what is on the website and urges people to complain if they see instances of ticket scalping.”

When the Independent asked why Fair Trading would not be providing a statement, it said people would have to make a complaint before investigating.

Meanwhile, despite viagogo contacting the Independent to advise it had removed tickets listed at more than 110 per cent of the original cost in NSW; as of Friday morning June 18, non complying tickets for other shows are still for sale on the viagogo site.

For example, some tickets for Hamilton at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney are on sale for more than double the original price – tickets “generally range between $70 to $250”, but viagogo lists tickets for as much as $528.

The theatre’s website emphasises that “in NSW it is illegal to resell a ticket for more than 110 per cent of the face value of the ticket, as regulated by NSW Fair Trading”, and advises consumers that “Sydney Lyric Theatre has no obligation to honour tickets purchased via unauthorised re-sellers, such as viagogo, eBay, Gumtree or otherwise”.

Subsequently, viagogo provided the following statement: “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.”

Clarence MP Chris said NSW Fair Trading “needs a good shake-up”.

“A lot of the NSW public are not happy with Fair Trading and how it responds to community and public concerns; I hope the minister pulls it into gear.

“I think fair trading needs a good kick up the arse and you can quote me on that.

“They need to deliver far better customer service.”