Google criticised for lifting Viagogo ad ban

Backdown on ad ban bad news for consumers.

Dodgy-looking man in red cap selling tickets.

Google has reversed its decision to suspend Viagogo from advertising, despite ongoing problems with the ticket reseller’s website.

Last year, Viagogo was suspended after Google said the ticket reseller had breached its advertising policies. In November, Google lifted the ban, saying it was satisfied with changes Viagogo had made to its website. Viagogo is once again appearing in the top spots in Google search results.

While Viagogo has made some changes, we think there are still big problems with its website and how it displays prices.

When we searched Google for tickets to the Queen and Adam Lambert concert in Wellington, Viagogo appeared at the top of our search results, ahead of the official ticket seller Ticketek. We found tickets on Viagogo for $397, more than double the $156 price for comparable tickets from the official seller.

Viagogo's website claimed $397 was a “good price to see Queen & Adam Lambert Live!”. A 10-minute timer, which counted down during the booking process, warned “Prices may rise or these tickets may no longer be available after this time”.

While the ticket price was displayed in NZD, when we went to pay the site said we’d be charged in EUR. This means it’s likely we’d also be stung with a currency conversion fee.

If you’re looking for tickets to events, our advice is to steer clear of Viagogo. You could end up paying much more than you need to and there’s no guarantee you’ll get genuine tickets.

We’ve written to Google expressing our concerns about Viagogo’s site and its decision to lift the ad ban.

In 2018, the Commerce Commission commenced civil proceedings against Viagogo claiming it made false and misleading representations. The case is ongoing.

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