Hong Kong Sevens tickets safe to buy, assures union chief despite UK probe into online reseller Viagogo
Viagogois under investigation over its UK music and entertainment ticketing practices and the Hong Kong Rugby Union is monitoring the situation
Hong Kong rugby officials said they were closely monitoring the activities of secondary ticket seller Viagogo after the company’s London office was raided by UK authorities as part of an investigation into suspected breaches of consumer law.
In a raid last week, according to British media, officials from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority seized information about the company’s relationship with prominent ticket touts, who are suspected of hoarding tickets for popular events and reselling them via secondary market vendors such as Viagogo.
Also raided was the office of StubHub, another secondary market seller, with the investigations focusing mainly on the music and entertainment industry.
There is no probe with regard to sporting events and the Hong Kong Rugby Union said it was confident that people wanting to buy tickets for the Hong Kong Sevens are protected.
“Our highest priority at the Hong Kong Rugby Union is ensuring that those who want to purchase tickets for the Sevens can do so with maximum convenience and confidence, both in our public ticket sale as well as via the secondary ticket market,” said union chief executive officer Robbie McRobbie.
“To date, our use of Viagogo has been successful in this effort, particularly with their provided guarantee for consumers that all purchases made through Viagogo are guaranteed genuine and subject to full refunds if not.
“We are aware of the recent issues surrounding secondary ticket resellers in the United Kingdom and are in contact presently with our local Viagogo representatives to learn more about this issue.
“We will continue to closely monitor this situation to ensure that the interests of our consumers are safeguarded to the highest degree possible.”
The union started using Viagogo as its “preferred” avenue for secondary-market tickets for the 2015 Hong Kong Sevens to dissuade fans from going to the many ticket touts who descend on Hong Kong Stadium during the Sevens weekend with a fistful of tickets at significantly marked-up prices.
Although the ballot for the 9,000 public-seating tickets do not close until late February, Viagogo is already starting to sell Hong Kong Sevens tickets on its website.
“The HKRU are aware that Sevens tickets are currently on sale at Viagogo and have granted Viagogo the right to list such individual ticket resales from August each year due to unauthorised ticketing sites offering tickets on their websites in similar time frames,” said McRobbie.
“The HKRU encourages consumers to only purchase tickets through authorised channels. With Viagago’s guarantee of authenticity for all tickets sold via their website and with all financial transactions completed only after the successful conclusion of the purchasers’ on-event experience, we are confident that our consumers are well protected when purchasing via Viagogo.”
Most of the tickets for the Hong Kong Sevens are for corporate sponsors and members of all the Hong Kong rugby clubs, who have priority. The public must enter a ballot for their tickets with the results expected to be announced on February 23.
The 2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be held from April 6-8 and is part of the World Sevens Series.
It was reported in Australian media in October that Viagogo had topped the New South Wales Fair Trading’s complaint register for a second month in a row.
The company is also facing federal court charges from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions, which accuses Viagogo of misleading representations and huge booking fees.
According to UK media, Viagogo had yet to comment on the CMA raids.