Viagogo skips UK parliamentary hearing

The ticket selling site faces a backlash after failing to appear before MPs...

A British inquiry into price gouging on ticket resale sites was left cold yesterday after secondary market site Viagogo snubbed a select committee by failing to show up to a hearing.

The site told PMs that it does not have "adequate representation" in the UK to assist the committee with its inquiry.

Committee chair Damian Collins commented that this is despite the fact that it has a "substantial office" in London. He added that the decision not to show up demonstrated "contempt for parliament."

The site - which was founded in the UK and is headquartered in Switzerland - argues that it does not sell tickets (or set prices), it offers a marketplace for individuals to do so.

In their absence, the site came under heavy criticism from a number of British MPs.

SNP representative John Nicolson said that the company is “lying to the public" and that it is engaged in "naked mis-selling."

The site and its competitors including StubHub, GetMeIn and Seatwave have been accused of breaking consumer protection laws.

Viagogo was called before the committee after tickets for an Ed Sheeran concert in aid of Britain's Teenage Cancer Trust appeared on the site for up to £2,330 (€2,682) - the face value was £110 (€126).

Ed Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp has previously given evidence to the select committee.

He spoke to BBC radio yesterday and said, "It was the outpouring of anger about that particular incident which was really just seen as people taking money from dying kids' hands ... That's a charity show, we put that show on to raise funds and people are just taking advantage, and it's something that needs to be controlled."

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock has called for the fast-tracking of legislation banning the sale of tickets at inflated prices in Ireland.

"It’s just not fair on true fans who couldn’t obtain a ticket this morning. The Government now has to act swiftly to outlaw the reselling of tickets over face value," he said after U2's Croke Park sellout in January.

TD for Wicklow & East Carlow Stephen Donnelly has also issued an open call for collaborators to draft proposals to tackle the issue.