The scale of Viagogo's alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act is far larger than previously reported, according to documents filed by a consumer watchdog.

Viagogo sold almost 1000 invalid tickets to All Blacks matches last year, the Commerce Commission alleges in submissions released this morning.

The submissions are in support of the watchdog's attempt to gain an interim injunction against the controversial online ticket reseller. An Auckland High Court hearing on Tuesday saw Justice Patricia Courtney reserve her decision, with no indication of when she would make a ruling.

Based on an affidavit from NZ Rugby, the Commission alleges that "for five All Blacks matches in 2018, a total of 494 consumers holding 947 Viagogo-purchased tickets were denied entry to those events."


Previously, the commission has quoted 587 complaints about Viagogo, with 79 of those involving invalid tickets for various sporting events and concerts.

Beyond allegations of invalid tickets, hundreds - including angry All Blacks fan Ian Henderson - allege they overpaid for tickets, thinking Viagogo was the only option.

Like a number of sports bodies, including NZ Cricket and the organisers of the ASB Classic tennis tournament, NZ Rugby has issued a warning against buying tickets via Viagogo.

NZ Rugby says ticket buyers should not click on Google ads for Viagogo (Google has refused to answer questions about Viagogo, saying it does not comment on individual advertisers).

The rugby body also supplied the ComCom with an email, allegedly sent by a Viagogo employee, which offered tickets for the 2017 Irish and British Lions tour of New Zealand. While second-hand sales or "scalping" of tickets is not ordinarily illegal, the Major Events Management Act (2007) rules out the practice in specific cases, including Lions tours, the commission said through Crown lawyers Meredith Connell at Tuesday's court hearing.

Although it has not been immediately apparent to disgruntled Viagogo customers who have approached the Herald, Viagogo acts as a sort of Trade Me for event tickets. The Commerce Commission alleges that on multiple occasions, sellers - often based in eastern Europe - resell the same ticket over and over.

That means the lucky first person to arrive at a concert or sporting event gets in, but everyone else who buys the ticket is told it has already been scanned, and is refused entry.

Among other allegations, the ComCom says Viagogo has misrepresented itself as an official ticket seller, failed to properly disclose fees that often increase the cost of a ticket by a third, misled consumers about the number of tickets left for an event and offered a ticket guarantee that it cannot fulfill and has failed to fulfill on numerous occasions.

NZ Rugby has posted the above graphic to its websites to warn fans against clicking on Google search ads for Viagogo. It alleges Vaigogo sold close to 1000 invalid tickets in 2018 alone.
NZ Rugby has posted the above graphic to its websites to warn fans against clicking on Google search ads for Viagogo. It alleges Vaigogo sold close to 1000 invalid tickets in 2018 alone.

In court on Tuesday, MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner Aaron Lloyd said Viagogo had made changes to its website and sales policies that addressed that addressed concerns raised by the ComCom - which he said did not, in any case, constitute breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

For the ComCom, Meredith Connell's Nick Flanagan told the court that Viagogo was guilty of "extensive fraudulent behaviour - and the evidence is that it continues to the present time."

Complaints continued to come in up to a few days ago when the regulator finalised its affidavits, he said, adding they were "of the same nature they have always been."

Viagogo has so far refused to answer Herald questions including which of its policies, and when.

The company sent the Herald the following statement after Tuesday's hearing wrapped up:

"All tickets on Viagogo are valid and it is perfectly legal to resell a ticket or give it to someone else if you want to. The tickets sold on Viagogo's platform are genuine tickets that have been sold on by the original ticket purchaser in good faith. viagogo aims to provide buyers with the widest possible choice of tickets to events, and enables sellers to reach a global audience. Every ticket is backed with the Viagogo guarantee.

"Viagogo will continue to work with the Commerce Commission to address their concerns. We remain committed to providing a secure platform for people to buy and sell sport, music and entertainment tickets to events all over the world."