Viagogo will have to pay a $7 million penalty for misleading consumers when it resold concert and sports tickets five years ago, after its appeal against a prior court decision was tossed.
On Wednesday, the Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed Viagogo's appeal of a 2019 judgment which found the firm had misled consumers through "a marketing and transactional web" on an industrial scale.
"Notwithstanding that Viagogo is not happy with the result, it has failed to establish error on the part of the primary judge," the appeal judges wrote.
Viagogo failed to show any mistakes in findings it had falsely claimed it was the "official" reseller of certain tickets and that tickets were scarce, and that it had hidden significant fees of up to 28 per cent from ticket buyers until later in the booking process.
Arguments that a $7 million penalty meted out in October 2020 was "manifestly excessive" were also dismissed by the court.
The case, brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August 2017, focused on statements made by Viagogo between May and June that year.
During that time, Viagogo advertised headline ticket prices on its website without disclosing the total prices that people would pay.
It also failed to tell consumers that it was not a primary ticket retailer, but rather a reseller of tickets.
On Wednesday, ACCC commissioner Liza Carver said Viagogo had engaged in "bad behaviour" by deliberately misleading thousands of Australian consumers.
"Viagogo misled music lovers, sporting fans and other consumers who were hoping to get tickets to a special event. Consumers were drawn in by a headline price and were often unaware of the significant fees charged by Viagogo until very late in the booking process when they were already invested in attending the event," she said.
A spokesperson from Viagogo said the firm was disappointed by the decision but confirmed that its website had changed during the long-running case.
"[The ruling] does not reflect our current ticketing platform and the many changes we have made to provide greater transparency for our customers, including providing clearer pricing, ticketing availability and event policy information at all stages of the customer journey."
Viagogo would continue working with the ACCC and other Australian regulators to ensure it upheld the highest possible consumer standards, the spokesperson said.
Australian Associated Press
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