When New South Wales passed ambitious anti-scalping laws last year, the big question was how they would be enforced against overseas ticket sellers.
Those laws, which cap the resale price of tickets within 10 per cent of the original price, came into effect on June 1. They now appear to be facing their first big test.
Tickets to Childish Gambino’s Sydney concert are being advertised for up to eight times their retail price on the Switzerland-based resale site Viagogo.
Standing unreserved tickets went on sale last week for $132.50 plus a booking fee. They were being sold yesterday for up to $889.
Childish Gambino tickets on Viagogo.
This is a clear breach of NSW’s new anti-scalping laws, according to Sarah Agar, head of campaigns and policy at the consumer rights group CHOICE.
“I think the new laws are great but I think when it comes to Viagogo I am pretty sceptical they will be enforced,” she said.
“Viagogo are based overseas and they have consistently engaged in conduct that looks like it already breaks Australian law – not just NSW ticketing laws but general consumer law – and no-one has managed to get them to come to court yet.”
Hackhas contacted Viagogo for comment.
Enforcement of the laws is the responsibility of NSW Fair Trading.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb toldHackshe was aware of the Childish Gambino ticketing “recent issue”.
“Appropriate action is being considered,” he said.
The fine for ticket scalping in NSW is $22,000 for corporations.
Laws appears to be working on Ticketmaster Resale
The other big resale website, Ticketmaster Resale (TM+), which is owned by US-based Live Nation, appears to be abiding by the new laws.
It was reselling tickets to Childish Gambino in Perth and Melbourne, but not to the Sydney leg.
CHOICE’s Sarah Agar said this showed the need for national anti-scalping laws.
“We want to see New South Wales regulation rolled out across Australia federally,” she said.
“While it’s difficult to deal with Viagogo we think that it would help address the sorts of things we’re seeing with Ticketmaster Resale.
She said NSW tickets with an illegally high markup on Ticketmaster Resale should be reported to NSW Fair Trading.
“I suspect we’d see a good enforcement outcome there,” she said.
Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Authority (ACCC) said it was taking action in the Federal Court against Viagogo, alleging it breached Australian consumer law when reselling entertainment, music, and live sport tickets.
CHOICE’s Sarah Agar said Viagogo operates “pretty much like a scam site”.
“We know regulators in Australia are working hard to bring regulators to heel but when a company won’t respond to requests … and won’t show up in court, it’s really difficult to know what they can do apart from warn the public about them.”