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Channel 4 Dispatches beats injunction attempt by Viagogo to air 'Great Ticket Scandal' tonight (23 F


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Scandal: Coldplay was one of the acts that Dispatches found major promoters allocating hundreds or even thousands of tickets to be sold through Viagogo at well above the face value.


Channel 4’s Dispatches programme has defeated an attempt by ticket reselling website Viagogo to get a High Court injunction against broadcasting its investigation into how ticket reselling websites work. The show exposes how customers are paying the price for hidden practices used by the 'fan-to-fan ticket exchange'.


The current affairs programme went undercover and found that major promoters allocate hundreds or even thousands of tickets to be sold at well above the face value. Tickets for recent gigs and tours by Coldplay, Rihanna, Westlife, Take That, and the V Festival have been allocated by the promoters in this way. The probe also found large scale organised ticket re-selling.


In May last year This is Money exclusively revealed allegations from a former member of Viagogo’s staff who claimed that workers at the firm used company credit cards to buy tickets for popular events which were then re-sold at escalated prices on the site. This is Money first started its campaign against ticket rip-offs in late 2007, calling for the end of expensive booking fees as well as an investigation into the way tickets are sold.


This is Money was contacted by the team behind the Dispatches programme and helped by providing information during the research stages of producing the show.


Channel 4 said that Viagogo has applied for an injunction on the grounds of 'breach of confidence' but this was dismissed on all counts at the High Court yesterday. Edward Parkinson, UK director of Viagogo, said that the website sought an injunction to 'prevent customer information being made public' as it’s 'number one priority is to protect our customers' data.'


A Channel 4 spokesperson: 'We are pleased that we can now broadcast in full a programme of important public interest. It is disappointing that having provided Viagogo with a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations uncovered by our investigation several weeks ago, they chose instead to seek an injunction which would have effectively stopped the broadcast of our programme.'


Viagogo say its website is for 'real fans' to resell tickets they can no longer use.


The programme, which airs tonight at 9pm, claims that many tickets offered for sale through Viagogo are not from individual fans but from large scale professional ticket resellers or tickets allocated by promoters to Viagogo.


The programme also shows how Viagogo staff compete directly with real fans to buy tickets from primary ticket sellers and how it has a special team dedicated to dealing with professional re-sellers. Edward Parkinson, UK director of Viagogo, said about the Dispatches programme: 'Viagogo exists to provide a safe, secure marketplace for the buying and selling of live event tickets. The vast majority of sellers are fans selling to other fans, and around half of tickets sold sell for face value or less.


'To ensure we can offer our customers the best seats possible, we have on occasion partnered with promoters or artists as this enables us to go above and beyond for our customers.'


Many fans are infuriated by the reselling of tickets at inflated prices on 'secondary ticket websites' minutes after gigs have sold out. They are often left empty handed when tickets to popular events go on sale as they are often gone within seconds, only to reappear on ticket exchange websites within minutes of selling out.


Earlier this week, another secondary ticketing website Seatwave sent an email to customers warning them that the Dispatches programme was almost certain to contain information on the website. The email said that the reselling website had 'done nothing wrong' and that it 'helps fans get better access to tickets in a safe, transparent way. Our mission is to ensure that people get to see their favourite band or sporting event – without ever having to venture into a car park with a wad of banknotes again.'



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