Finance Consumer ‘Disgusting scam’: Australian artists and promoters call for Viagogo ban

‘Disgusting scam’: Australian artists and promoters call for Viagogo ban

The ACCC is taking ticket resale website Viagogo to the Federal Court
A renowned Australian tour promoter says Viagogo has 'disgusting scalping practices'. Photo: Getty
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Artists and concert tour promoters have once again lashed out at controversial ticket resale website Viagogo, amid mounting pressure for the website to be “eradicated” from Australia.  

On Monday, Australian rock band Gang Of Youths called out the shameful practices of the widely criticised scalping website on social media platforms. 

In a statement on Facebook, the band wrote: “As many of you have encountered through your businesses (and I’m sure personally through friends and family), Viagogo has become one of the most disgraceful and disruptive scams our live industry has faced in recent years.” 

“There is an opportunity to help eradicate this business from Australia.”

Gang Of Youths has lashed out at ticket scalping website Viagogo. Photo: Instagram

The band has asked members of the public to email their negative interactions with Viagogo to by Wednesday, as it intends to submit the documentation as part of a Labor Party campaign to have the reseller shut down.

‘Disgusting practices’

Australian concert tour promoter Michael Chugg, who heads Chugg Entertainment, a touring agency that promotes major artists such as Florence + The Machine and Hozier, said Viagogo needed to be stopped as it had disgusting scalping practices.

“The site is ripping the fans, the bands and the artists off by over-charging and half the time they don’t have even have tickets to sell and in some cases they’re selling tickets that are fraudulent,” Mr Chugg told The New Daily.

“We’re in a situation now where we have five people turning up to an event who have paid about $400 each for the same fraudulent tickets and they can’t get in.

“People are just left distraught and in tears because of this shameful behaviour.”

Mr Chugg said Google needed to work with the Australian government to remove Viagogo from the search engine.

“Google needs to act now and take them off the search engine,” he said.

“We’re continuing to warn our database and VIP members to book directly through the official websites, but people are still getting sucked in to Viagogo.”

How ticket scalping hurts consumers

In July, a The New Daily investigation shed light on ticket scalping websites and bots pushing up the cost and hurting the availability of tickets. 

Jeannie Patterson, a consumer protection expert and associate professor at Melbourne Law School, said scalped tickets were resale tickets where the seller had no intention of attending the event, motivated purely by profit.

“Australians are being ripped off and penalised for buying massively marked-up tickets. And scalping websites are getting away with it,” Dr Patterson told The New Daily in July. 

Jay Felix, president of the Australian Ticket Brokers Association, said consumers should not buy tickets from websites based overseas, as they will have little recourse in the event that something goes wrong.

He said Australian websites include The Golden Ticket, Queen of Tickets, SupaTix, The Ticket Merchant, Tickets4me, TicketBlaster and Epic Tickets.

However, The New Daily found that some of these local websites list tickets with substantially inflated prices.

The push to ban the ticket-buying bots

The United Kingdom banned the use of ticket scalping bots in July, imposing “unlimited” fines on anyone caught breaking the law.

Event ticketing expert Dr Keith Parry told The New Daily he believed Australia should follow suit by banning the practice.

“We know it’s happening here in Australia,” he told The New Daily in July.

Official ticket seller Ticketek agreed, confirming exclusively to The New Daily that Australia is “not immune” to the rampant operation of bots globally.

While there is currently no legislation prohibiting Australians from buying ticket bots, the federal government released a consultation paper in late 2017 that proposed a national ban on ticket-buying bots.

Laws in NSW, which came into effect on June 1, completely outlaw bots. 

The New Daily contacted Viagogo for comment. 

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