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British watchdog has 'serious concerns' Viagogo not following court order

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(Reuters) – Britain’s competition watchdog said on Thursday it had “serious concerns” that ticket reseller Viagogo had not complied with a court order that required the company to make changes to business practices that broke consumer law.

The secondary ticketing market, which resells tickets for events ranging from pop concerts to tennis and soccer matches, has come under fire from politicians and regulators for sometimes sky-high prices and misleading customers.

The court had earlier asked Viagogo to make many changes including ensuring that customers have more information on sellers, warnings if customers won’t get a spot at an event, easy refunds and not giving out misleading information about the availability or popularity of tickets sold.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would have to return to court if Viagogo did not make the necessary changes.

CMA said in November that Viagogo will have to overhaul the way it does business, citing a court order it obtained against the online ticket reseller. The company has been given until mid-January to comply with the order.

“We are compliant. That is the only statement we have at this time,” Viagogo told Reuters in an email.

Viagogo was founded in London in 2005 by Harvard and Stanford alumnus Eric Baker and is headquartered in Geneva.

Following an investigation, the CMA began enforcement action against four ticketing websites in 2017 and three of them – StubHub, GETMEIN! and Seatwave – offered formal commitments last year to overhaul their practices.

Last year, soccer’s ruling body FIFA filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo, saying it wanted to prevent unauthorised ticket reselling at the World Cup in Russia.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Anil D’Silva)

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