RFU wins another battle with Viagogo

December 2012

Live events sector


Viagogo has lost another battle in its battle to avoid handing over details of its ticket sellers to The Rugby Football Union, this time in the UK’s Supreme Court. The RFU ticket’s terms conditions prohibit their re-sale by original purchasers. Viagogo now say that despite the Courts ruling in their view this can can only apply to legacy ticket resales, because new data protection technology further protects the identity of current sellers. The case is important as whilst (with the exception of football tickets and Olympics 2101 tickets) it is not illegal to tout tickets in the UK, many sport and entertainment promoters include clauses in their terms and conditions that say that tickets cannot be resold, often refining this by adding that the condition would only apply to tickets sold by way of a profit-generating commercial transaction. Anyone who buys a ticket and resells it for profit can therefor be sued for breach of contract – but event organisers can only sue if they know the details of re-sellers on sites like Viagogo and eBay.

After the Supreme court decision the RFU said “Today’s dismissal of Viagogo’s final appeal sets an important precedent for the sporting industry that rights holders should retain the ability to control their ticketing policy and pricing. If a seller is found to be listing these tickets on secondary websites they face tough sanctions, including possible court action”. Viagogo said that while the RFU would now likely get access to the names of a handful of individuals who sold tickets via the firm’s platform in the past, moving forward legal claims to identify resellers would not work, because new data protection methods would provide technical barriers to providing any such information. Viagogo Director Ed Parkinson to The Guardian “While the RFU may have run off with a handful of names from sales that took place several years ago, I can assure you this will not happen again … Our data protection is now better, so fans may therefore now buy and sell rugby tickets on Viagogo with absolute confidence that their information will be protected in future

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