The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have upheld two complaints made by FanFair Alliance about the “misleading” adverts of controversial ticket-touting website viagogo.

The complaints came from two advertorial features published in the NME, which the ASA said omitted crucial information about ticket resale protections for live shows by artists including Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey and Blackpink.

It added that both articles advised that viagogo was a safe and secure platform to buy and sell tickets – despite the T&Cs for these events specifically prohibiting the resale of tickets for profit through “unofficial” websites such as viagogo.

Both advertorial features were found to have breached the CAP Code (The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing).

The ASA said in a statement, “The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We told viagogo AG to ensure future ads did not mislead consumers by omitting material information regarding the entry restrictions on tickets purchased through them and other secondary ticketing sites.”

The FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb said, “This is an important ruling by the ASA, which highlights how websites like viagogo continue to mislead consumers and mis-sell them touted tickets. British audiences deserve greater protection from these rip-off merchants. It is high time the UK followed the example of countries like Ireland and France and outlawed their parasitical practices.” 

Viagogo has since responded to the ASA ruling by adding a short disclaimer to the offending NME features.

FanFair said the disclaimer is “in itself inaccurate and misleading”.

The statement added, “We also believe that viagogo is now operating in clear breach of UK consumer protection legislation. We have today written to both the ASA and the Competition & Markets Authority, urging them to take further action against viagogo in order to protect consumers.”

Viagogo response

In response to the ruling, a viagogo spokesperson told Access, “We are disappointed by the Advertising Standards Authority ruling.

“Viagogo is a safe, secure and regulated global online marketplace, and we are fully compliant with the law in all markets in which we operate.

“The ‘lead booker’ requirement for Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ UK shows has been removed by Ticketmaster and AEG. This means there is no longer a need for the lead booker to be present and attend the show. Ticket fraud is extremely uncommon on our marketplace as less than 0.02% of ticket holders encounter an issue at the door. In any event, the viagogo guarantee is in place to protect fans and ensure those who have purchased tickets on our platform get in the door or their money back.

“We exist to get fans into live events and oppose anti-consumer actions taken by event organisers to restrict purchasing and resale options in an attempt to control the market. These measures ultimately harm fans by limiting choice, flexibility, and access.”

Full details of the ruling can be found here.