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Viagogo MD Cris Miller’s claim that the secondary ticketing operation “will continue to play a crucial role in the live events industry, particularly as pandemic lockdowns ease” has been rubbished by Adam Webb of anti-ticket touting campaigner FanFair Alliance.

Viagogo has been the subject of a lengthy investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK, has been fined for breaking anti-touting laws in countries including Italy and Australia, and criticised for selling tickets to cancelled shows during the pandemic as well as refusing to refund fans who bought tickets for gigs and sporting events cancelled because of the pandemic.

In a letter published in The Guardian, Miller said Viagogo undergoes an annual compliance audit and encourages all operators in the secondary ticket market to take similar “stringent steps”.

He said, “Contrary to criticisms, we take our role in the fight against fraud seriously, we move swiftly to deal with it and are constantly reviewing our practices to stop it altogether. We are calling for more integration and collaboration between event organisers, promoters and resale platforms, not just to help end fraud, but to improve the ticket-buying experience for all fans and support the industry in its post-pandemic recovery.”

In response, Webb said Viagogo appeared to have missed April Fools Day by a few weeks: “Cris Miller curiously neglects to mention that all changes made to Viagogo’s UK website were made under duress. His company was literally forced by regulators, via a court order, into a national compliance audit. These and other ‘stringent steps’ have been resisted by Viagogo every step of the way. Their non-UK sites remain remarkably unreformed and are all populated by the kind of misleading pressure-selling techniques endured by British consumers until 2019.

“Aside from the clear instances of fraud reported by The Guardian, FanFair Alliance has uncovered numerous other instances of speculative ticketing on their website by some of Viagogo’s biggest suppliers – a practice that is practically encouraged by Viagogo’s open-ended seller policies. However you dress it up, this is still one of the world’s most toxic brands. They have absolutely no role to play in the UK’s live events industry.”