The UK live industry is taking a hands-on approach in tackling Viagogo.
Frustrated by the “shifty, slippery and secretive” behaviour of the controversial secondary ticketing company, a leading promoter joined a pair of MPs last week attempted to doorstop Viagogo staff at its London offices.
According to the Guardian, Conservative MP Nigel Adams, Labour’s Sharon Hodgson and Stuart Galbriath, founder of concert promoter Kilimanjaro Live, showed up at Viagogo’s Fenchurch Street premises last Thursday after the ticketing firm refused to participate in a parliamentary inquiry into scalping.
They were clutching a letter which urged Viagogo to provide “more transparency about its U.K. presence,” but they apparently didn’t make their delivery as the police were called and the trio was threatened with arrest for trespassing.
All three had good reason to get the message through. Galbraith, the former Live Nation U.K. Music managing director, co-promoted Ed Sheeran’s recent U.K. arena tour for which 5 million fans are said to have applied for tickets. Last week some 10,000 tickets for Sheeran’s 2018 northern summer run were cancelled after being sold at hiked sums on resale websites. Many consumers have complained of being ripped off by the shady website, and thousands are sharing their stories via a Facebook group, Victims of Viagogo.
Adams sat on the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee at the time of Viagogo no-show, and Hodgson is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse.
“Viagogo told parliament they couldn’t attend the inquiry because they are registered in Switzerland and do not have adequate representation in the U.K.,” Adams told the Guardian. “But we have found that they have this secret office so we have come here to meet them in person.”
They apparently sent Viagogo and its parent company VGL an official letter but didn’t hold out hope of receiving a response. “So we thought that if we turned up in person we might get a bit of face time,” Adams explained.
Viagogo is no less a target in Australia. After conducting its own investigation, Choice last year lodged a complaint with the ACCC against Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale, alleging misleading and deceptive conduct, while the likes of Michael Chugg and Michael Gudinski have called on decision-makers in Canberra to fix what is seen as an escalating problem.