Darcy Ford learnt the hard way about the dangers of using online secondary ticket reseller Viagogo.
The 21-year-old University of Wollongong student was so excited about seeing American indie folk band Fleet Foxes play in Sydney earlier this year, he let the thrill of nabbing a ticket “get in the way”.
After looking to buy online via the promoters of the gig, at the Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid Live 2017, Mr Ford decided to try his luck with a Google search.
“Viagogo was one of the first ones [results] that popped up. This was before it blew up in media, so I had no idea,” he told the Mercury.
“I kind of let excitement get in the way of me and I bought just one ticket.”
Mr Ford paid $180 for the ticket, which he said retailed for about $90, and was then slapped with a number of post-purchase fees.
A $50 booking fee and $4.95 handling fee took the total charge to $234.95.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday launched legal action against Viagogo, alleging the ticket reseller breached the country’s consumer law when reselling entertainment, music and live sport tickets between May 1 and June 26.
The ACCC alleges Viagogo “failed to disclose significant and unavoidable fees upfront in the ticket price”.
The action by the consumer watchdog came a day after NSW Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean issued a government warning about using the Swiss-based ticket exchange platform.
Mr Kean said NSW Fair Trading had already received 187 consumer complaints this year – ranging from delayed delivery to heavily marked-up prices and cancelled events.
Mr Ford said he contacted the Opera House to check if his ticket was legitimate and was told those from secondary ticket sellers would not provide access to the May 29 event.
The student was able to secure another ticket. He then got his bank involved and was refunded the Viagogo cost earlier this month.
“Most people know not to go to a faulty dealership. The problem is Viagogo brands itself as an official seller,” he said.
“I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but I let my excitement and [the fact] they’ve got a ticket lead me instead of a bit of logic.
Mr Ford had a simple message for potential buyers.
“If the official vendors don’t have any tickets left, they've sold out, you can’t get another ticket,” he said.