‘Scalping’ of tickets and other ‘dodgy’ practices targeted in SA

Ever missed out on tickets for a popular event, only then to find that the tickets have been ‘scalped’ and are now only available at a price 2 or 3 times their face value?

From December 2018 new laws in SA target ticket scalping, making it illegal to resell tickets for more than 110% of the original ticket price (ie. not including booking fees).  The new law applies to any sporting or entertainment event in South Australia, regardless of size or popularity (ie. not just ‘declared’ events).

Also prohibited is the use of ‘ticket bots’ or similar software, and the hosting of adverts for scalped tickets.

The aim is to create a fairer resale environment.  Now, a ticket can only be resold if the original price is displayed, and full details of the event are provided.

New South Wales and Victoria have similar laws targeting scalpers and scalped tickets.

And have you ever used Viagogo?  They are a ticket reseller (or ‘secondary marketplace’) for tickets for live events. Not long ago a Google search for tickets for an event would have a link to Viagogo as the top search result.

Viagogo is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and has no physical Australian presence.  For several years there have been complaints from artists and fans about inflated prices and ‘dodgy’ practices, several venues started refusing tickets resold or brokered through them.  The ACCC launched Federal Court action against Viagogo, and earlier this year the Federal Court found that Viagogo breached the Australian Consumer Law.  In particular it:

  • made misleading and deceptive claims, eg. that its website was ‘official’;
  • pressured customers by falsely claiming that there were ‘less than 1% of tickets remaining’ for an event;
  • failed to disclose the original prices for the tickets, and engaged in ‘drip pricing’, ie. putting up a headline price at the beginning of the purchase process, following which additional fees, taxes or charges were then incrementally disclosed or ‘dripped’; and
  • failed to disclose unavoidable additional fees for tickets, eg. a typical booking fee of 27.6%.

The case will come back to the Federal Court for penalties to be set.  For Viagogo the ‘sting’ is that last month Google banned them from taking up ‘prime position’ in Google search results advertising.

If you need assistance in your business with issues around ticketing, or selling or reselling of tickets, please get in touch with us for help and advice.