Controversial Swiss ticket resellers Viagogo have been handed a hefty $7 million fine by Australia's Federal Court after they were found to have mislead Australian consumers on 'an industrial scale'.
The news of the official penalty comes after a court ruling was made last year, with the initial complaint being filed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission after a string of ticket-scalping allegations were brought against Viagogo in 2017.
In their ruling, the Federal Court stated that the company had breached Australian Consumer Law by creating false claims about the number of tickets remaining for sale on the platform, encouraging consumers to purchase tickets based on misleading information.
The ACCC's case also noted Viagogo's use of the phrasing 'official' while advertising its platform on Google in 2017, which the consumer body claimed to invoke a false assumption that Viagogo were official ticket sellers, as opposed to being a resale marketplace.
The case also added that Viagogo's hidden booking fees and failure to disclose the price of a single ticket breached Australian consumer law.
In addition to handing down the penalty, Justice Stephen Burnley ordered an injunction against Viagogo, who have since remodelled their business strategy, deeming them responsible to cover the ACCC's court costs and enforcing a compliance program upon the company.
A statement from ACCC Chairman Rod Sims released on Saturday applauded the handling of the case, noting that it should serve as a warning for any similar ticket reselling platforms operating in the Australian market.
"Today’s $7 million penalty sends a strong signal to businesses like Viagogo conducting business in Australia that they cannot get away with profiting from misleading Australian consumers about the price of the tickets they are selling."
Read the official statement from the ACCC here.