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Viagogo caught using fake reviews and misleading prices

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Mar 26, 2018

Ticket reselling websites StubHub, Viagogo, Get Me In and Seatwave are still misleading customers over pricing despite being ordered to stop.

Viagogo jacked up its prices by the most – with tickets 39% more expensive than advertised, on average.

It has also been caught using fake reviews - some for concerts that hadn’t even happened yet.

The Advertising Standards Authority cracked down on the four major ticket reselling sites for using misleading pricing with hidden fees.


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"We found that the advertisers were not upfront and clear with consumers about additional ticket fees and charges that were added at the end of the booking process," the ASA said earlier this month.

However, none of the ticket sites have made any changes.

An investigation by The Times has found tickets are being marketed at up to a third less than the actual amount customers must pay when they get to the checkout.

Viagogo and other ticket resellers were told to stop leaving additional costs until the end.

The Times examined the cost of five events on each website — the Rolling Stones, Anthony Joshua, Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones and U2 — and found ticket prices were on average 28 per cent higher than the advertised price once the delivery, handling, booking and VAT fees were added.

Most complained about companies of 2017
* Viagogo no no: customer loses £416 on unusable Ed Sheeran tickets
* Ticket reselling websites ordered to stop ripping off buyers with misleading prices


Fake reviews

In addition to misleading prices, Viagogo also appears to have fake reviews on its website.

Sam Smith’s tour had reviews calling it the “Greatest event this year, five stars”, “Absolutely Brilliant, five stars”, “Best tour yet, five stars”, “Amazing performance, five stars”.

His tour has not started.

The same rotation of “reviews” and five star awards were given to the Rolling Stones, Kylie Minogue, Beyonce and Jay Z events.

Viagogo did not respond to questions.

Viagogo’s website also appeared to be using several other misleading practices. The “from” prices promoted for the biggest events on its homepage do not appear to be available at that price once users click to buy.

A Spokesman Said received 230 complaints about Viagogo last year alone.


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Changes will take time

A spokesman for the ASA said: “Our compliance team is actively monitoring the situation and is working directly with advertisers to ensure that all necessary fees and taxes are included upfront. It will take some time for companies to implement changes to the functionality of their websites. But if any of those advertisers are unwilling to make changes in a timely fashion, we won’t hesitate to take action, including imposing sanctions where necessary.”

A spokeswoman for StubHub said: “We believe in transparency and giving customers a safe marketplace to buy and sell tickets. We felt that our fees were clear, but acknowledge that the ASA has requested changes in the way fees are displayed. We are working with the ASA regarding when we will implement these changes to a timeline that is possible for us and acceptable to the ASA. Therefore we are not defying the ruling. We want to get this right and ensure we implement the changes in the clearest way possible for consumers.”

Ticketmaster, which owns Seatwave and Get Me In!, said that it was working with both the ASA and the Competition and Markets Authority to “further develop levels of transparency and consumer protection within the UK ticketing sector.”