A Kiwi has shared a warning about a Viagogo Facebook advertisement for Metallica, claiming that the sponsored post is misleading.
Viagogo, a website that resells tickets for major concerts and events, has received around 600 complaints so far, according to the Commerce Commission who fought and lost against the ticket-reseller in court.
Complaints include Viagogo making representations that they were the official ticket seller, not a reselling website and consumers being sold fake tickets or the same ticket being sold multiple times and additional fees not being adequately disclosed, the ComCom said.
In a Reddit post a Kiwi shared a screenshot of the Viagogo ad, which promotes the website selling Metallica tickets for 2019 and captioned it: "Metallica, the reigning kings of rock announce one massive concert in New Zealand. Have you got your tickets yet? Enter Sandman with #Metallica2019."
The Kiwi points out that the advertisement is misleading as it does not point out to buyers that it is a ticket re-seller website.
"PSA: Viagogo [are] appearing as though they're authorised seller for Metallica. They are NOT," the person wrote.
The legitimate website selling tickets for Metallica is Ticketmaster.
Another Kiwi commented on Reddit saying: "Viagogo also heavily moderates their comment sections on Facebook so any negativity towards the company is filtered out or blocked."
One Redditor complained about Facebook's and Google's advertising standards.
"If Facebook and Google had any integrity left they would stop Viagogo advertising with them," they wrote.
Other complained about the company "scam" people by selling fake tickets.
"They take your money then try to get cheap bulk tickets before the event and sell them on," a Kiwi wrote.
"They're scammers with a legit looking storefront."
The Herald has contacted Viagogo about the advertisement.
During a court hearing with the commission on February 6, where Viagogo was represented by MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner Aaron Lloyd, Justice Patricia Courtney said she could see why consumers believe the website is misleading.
"It's difficult not to form the view that consumers have been mislead, on the evidence that I've got," the judge said at one point as Lloyd made an argument that no guarantee could be absolute.
Lloyd made an analogy to toasters, which he said sometimes broke down.
He added that someone re-selling a ticket over the Viagogo platform only got their money once a buyer had successfully gained entry to an event.
Lloyd indicated that policy was the result of a recent change, along with other changes that he said addressed problems raised by the commission.
Meredith Connell's Nick Flanagan, who represented the commission, said 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 sent the Herald a statement after the hearing against the commission, saying that all their tickets are legitimate.
"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."
Viagogo is currently calling a High Court decision to dismiss an interim injunction sought by the commission "a significant legal victory".
For its part, the commission says it was knocked back on a technicality and that it will continue to prepare for a substantive hearing.
In the meantime, the consumer watchdog says it is "urging event ticket buyers to take particular care".
"We urge ticket buyers to purchase from official ticket websites. Avoid clicking on the first internet search result you see for an event."
A spokesman for Viagogo said, "We are pleased by the court's ruling to deny the commission's application for relief. This is a significant legal victory for Viagogo. For over a decade, millions of customers have been successfully using Viagogo which is why we remain committed to providing a secure platform for people to sell as well as buy sport, music and entertainment tickets to events in New Zealand and all over the world."