Google suspends Viagogo from advertising after ‘breach of client trust’


Google has today dealt a blow to controversial second-hand ticketing company Viagogo by suspending its website as an advertiser.

It is the second setback for the firm this month. Earlier in July, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would take Viagogo to court.

Google said: “When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust.

“This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”

Last year, the Football Association, the trade body UK Music and MPs signed an open letter to Google executives, urging it to stop Viagogo from advertising.

Viagogo has come under fire in recent months amid claims touts resell tickets at prices way above face value. This is done via its website for second-hand tickets to music and sporting events.

The CMA launched its legal challenge against the company in August last year. It said it was concerned the website was breaking consumer-protection law.

Following this, a court ordered Viagogo to overhaul its business. It said the firm must tell buyers whether there was a risk they would get turned away at the door.

But the CMA said earlier this month the firm had not done enough to change its practices.

In March, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee of MPs urged consumers to boycott the site. They also criticised Google at the time for retaining Viagogo as an advertiser.

Viagogo has said it is working with the CMA.

A spokesperson for Viagogo said: “We were extremely surprised to learn of Google’s concerns today.  We are confident that there has been no breach of Google’s policies and look forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Which magazine consumer rights expert Adam French said: “Viagogo has persisted in its apparent disregard for consumer law despite repeated warnings from the competition watchdog to change its practices and a court order requiring them to take action, so it is good to see firm action from Google that will ultimately hit the site where it hurts by hampering its ability to reach consumers.

“The CMA’s allegations – that the firm is still using misleading ticket availability messages and failing to adequately warn fans that tickets sold on the site may not get them into events – are damning. We would urge all consumers to steer clear of Viagogo. ”