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26th April 2012

Viagogo UK goes into liquidation, very, very quietly ...

Don't fancy having controls, scrutiny or regulation stopping you from making as much money as possible? Find what Viagogo did after Dispatches' disclosures in February

Channel 4's Dispatches caused a minor stir in February when they broadcast a programme that exposed the shady dealings within the secondary ticket market. Viagogo attempted to prevent the programme from being shown but were unsuccessful despite two attempts to obtain a court injunction. The revelations did not come as a surprise to Safeconcerts nor to Safeconcerts' members, we have been highlighting the various issues surrounding the secondary ticket market for years.

As the fuss dies down behind the scenes Viagogo appear to have taken some very interesting measures that have so far gone unreported and unnoticed. These measures should raise alarm bells for the UK's ticket buying public.

Why would one of the biggest names in secondary ticketing change its business name?

On the 22nd March 2012 Viagogo Ltd, the UK arm of Viagogo changed its name to Consolidated Information Services Ltd and in doing so they classified the business not as ticket touts or a ticket agency but as:

"74909 - Other professional, scientific and technical activities not elsewhere classified"

On the 26th March 2012 Viagogo put itself into liquidation and appointed a liquidator.

On the 3rd April 2012 the statutory notice of liquidation was posted in the London Gazette under the name of Consolidated Information Services Ltd, so not a sign of the well known name Viagogo. Ah, now we see, who would make the link between this unknown company name and Viagogo? 
[You can see the entries at Companies House here, or see the image at the bottom of this item.]

During March/April 2012 everything was transferred from Viagogo Ltd to Viagogo AG based in Switzerland.

There is no obvious indication on Viagogo, apart from a change in address, to show you are now no longer dealing with a UK company this means that if you have any problems with them you will be subject to Swiss laws, you will not be covered by UK law. Take a look at their company information page now here.

What is going to happen to my details if I used Viagogo?

What you need to know about the privacy policy of viagogo is it gives them permission to transfer your personal information including financial details outside of the European economic area and if it goes into liquidation or administration it can transfer your deals to another party.

"In the event that viagogo is sold, or transferred some of its assets to another party, our customer information will most likely also be transferred in connection with such acquisition. If your personal information is transferred, use of such information would remain subject to this Privacy Policy. Your personal information will be passed on to a successor in interest in the event of a liquidation or administration of viagogo."

Of course it doesn't really matter what the policy actually says, the fact is that Viagogo have transferred everything away from the UK, effectively this means that they are no longer subject to UK laws. The big question is why a thriving UK company has gone into liquidation but appear to have a thriving business now based in Switzerland. What are the UK debts? Will all UK debts be cleared?

Not even the Olympics will be Viagogo Free now

We are led to believe Viagogo gave assurances to Police in 2011 that it would not get involved in Olympic tickets but on the 17th April Viagogo announced that it is in 'collaboration' with the Spanish Olympic Committee.

“We’re proud to be supporting the Spanish Olympic Movement. We have always sought to partner with the world’s leading sports organisations and bring the benefits of our unique ticketing experience. Becoming a part of the Olympic movement in Spain is a big step for our business” (read in full)

Viagogo was part of a fraud prevention forum to do with Operation Podium (formed for the Olympic Games), despite industry experts advice some 20 months ago not to have anything to do with them. After the Dispatches programme, Podium suspended the prevention forum and ceased contact with Viagogo (why did it take a television programme for this to happen?)

Viagogo also lost its appeal against the RFU after it was ordered to disclose sellers' details to the RFU.

Viagogo is now believed to be the subject of a Police investigation into their activities as well as a much anticipated investigation by HMRC, was this a factor in their 'voluntary liquidation' and move to Switzerland?

What does this mean for the Secondary Ticket Market?

As a market leader, the example that Viagogo have set will no doubt be followed by more and more of the secondary ticket agent companies as they all move as far away from the UK's current regulations as possible whilst keeping their hands firmly in the pockets of the UK consumers. They will all be watching their progress carefully to see if this move to Switzerland has any impact on their sales. Of course many of the nastiest of fraudulent ticket sites are and were based in countries other than the UK to avoid the long arm of our laws and they have been doing this for years so it was only a matter of time before others saw a gap in the legal red tape. 

It doesn't appear that there will be any form of new legislation or restrictions applied to the secondary ticket market in the near future. The only way that ticket buyers can protect themselves from both the secondary ticket sellers and fraudulent sites is to avoid them. The Safeconcerts Be Ticket Safe® Directory will tell you what sort of site you are purchasing from. Our advice has always been to avoid buying from any company not based in the UK. Safeconcerts only ever recommend ticket buyers to purchase from legitimate, primary ticket sellers, we do not link to or affiliate with any secondary ticket sellers. 

We believe that the majority of secondary ticket sites will do whatever it takes to avoid adhering to UK laws and this latest development by Viagogo is an excellent example of the tactics used to prevent openness, honesty and transparency in dealing with the public. The sad reality is that the legitimising of ticket exchanges means that genuine fans will just keep on using the same old sites, not caring where the tickets come from or how much money is being made on them. We now know that the "fan to fan" facade these sites have hidden behind for so long are nothing of the sort and we know that Viagogo have taken steps to ensure that they are now untouchable by UK law. What does that tell you about Viagogo?

Viagogo UK's entry on Companies House:

Your Ratings & Comments
Why are Viagogo getting away with ripping people off?
Written by Viagogo | 20th Dec 2012
You only have to search through the internet, and you find endless accounts of shocking treatment people are getting from them. People loosing money and getting nothing in return.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Viagogo does not act in the best interest of customers
Written by davidsmithy | 12th Nov 2012
Isn't it about time a software company in the UK see's this as a opportunity.

The overwhelming majority of sellers on Viagogo are ordinary sports and music fans who are trying to sell on tickets that they can no longer use.

The overwhelming majority of buyers on Viagogo are ordinary sports and music fans who are trying to buy tickets from other fans that can no longer go to the event.

Info. What percentage of sellers are fans reselling tickets because they cannot attend an event?
95% of people who sold on Viagogo in the past year, sold fewer than 10 tickets. The overwhelming majority of users on Viagogo are genuine sports and music fans selling less than 10 tickets a year. On the site, the average mark up across the majority of tickets listed on the site is around 10% -to 15%.

Around 50% of tickets sold on Viagogo sold at or below the ticket face value. Examples of great deals on the site at the moment include; McFly – you can go and see the boy band from just £15, half the face value price Peter Kay – you can see Peter Kay at the O2 from as little as £24 – face value is between £35 and £42

Viagogo charges both ticket sellers and buyers fees. Its ticket buying fees are not listed on the site until customers go to purchase tickets. Example fees for a pair of George Michael tickets on sale at £149.99 each for the Albert Hall in October are a booking fee of £45, shipping of £11.95, plus VAT of £11.39, delivering total fees and VAT of £68.34. Seller fees are listed as 10% plus VAT on that, this would deliver a selling service fee and VAT of £36. Face value for similar George Michael tickets for this date and seats was £50.75 to £72.75.

So a company looking to get into the selling of tickets online, needs to offer us all better commissions and be a UK registered company. I got some information from
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Normal practise
Written by nancyhaven | 23rd Aug 2012
Well, Markland didn't look too far. eBay and Amazon are well-known names that immediately spring to mind although there are numerous lesser known brands that dissolve their companies before re-locating overseas.
No UK limited company?
Written by Markland | 27th Apr 2012
Many companies have moved their headquarters to tax havens such as Switzerland

I cannot find a case where a company moving its HQ from the UK has also liquidated its limited companies under a different name as well

All this move has done is put Viagogone beyond the reaches of UK law and court orders such as the one from the RFU

It simply makes them even less open and transparent than they were before, if that is even possible, especially after the fan to fan spin was stripped away and the dodgy dealings with UK promoters exposed

2 of 3 people found this helpful
viagogo Statement
Written by viagogo Official | 27th Apr 2012
"In April this year viagogo moved its head office from London to Geneva. As well as being the leading ticket marketplace in the UK, we are also in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and many other European countries. As such, like many successful UK businesses, we have chosen to open a central European office. At the heart of our business is our guarantee, which goes far beyond any UK trading regulations and applies to every viagogo customer, wherever they are in the world."

Anyone who would like to know more, should listen listen to Radio 4's "You and Yours" show at 12pm on 27th April 2012 where Edward Parkinson from viagogo will be interviewed.
1 of 3 people found this helpful
Viagogo UK goes into liquidation, very, very quietly ...

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