Update: A spokesperson for Viagogo told Variety: “We are extremely concerned that due to duplicate sales, cancellation of tickets and slow communication from the primary ticket outlet, coupled with enhanced ticket personalisation restrictions, sellers were unable to fulfil their sale resulting in some of our buyers being let down. All buyers impacted will be refunded, however, the overwhelming majority of fans who purchased tickets on viagogo received valid tickets in time for the event. This is a clear example of where ticket personalisation burdens ticket buyers resulting in confusion and poor customer experience. Viagogo’s guarantee protects customers’ purchases in instances like this, ensuring a full refund.”
Eurovision fans have been left crushed after ticket re-selling site Viagogo failed to deliver tickets to the finals, which takes place tonight in Turin, Italy.
Among those left out of pocket was Hila from Israel (she asked that Variety withhold her last name for privacy reasons). She ordered four tickets for her daughter’s bat mitzvah at a cost of almost $5,500 in January as well as booking flights, car hire and a hotel room, which amounted to around $2,000.
“Once I completed the purchase I got a weird ‘confirmation’ mail from Viagogo that I will get tickets at a later stage closer to the release of tickets… so I then realized they sold me something that did not exist,” she said. However, Viagogo kept promising the tickets would be delivered, first on April 23 and then May 6.
However on May 13, one day before the Eurovision final, Hila received an email from Viagogo stating: “We are very sorry to inform you that your seller was not able to provide your tickets as originally ordered. Therefore your transaction has been cancelled and you will be refunded the full purchase amount of €5274.39 [$5,491.35].” Viagogo told Hila, who had already arrived in Italy by that point with her husband and children, it would take up to 10 days to receive the refund.
Similarly, Juan Carlos Orihuela Cuesta from Spain bought tickets from Viagogo in February for himself, his brother and his partner. He was directed to Viagogo after Googling “buy Eurovision tickets” and seeing that top four results were all Viagogo. However alarm bells rang months later when a friend told him that the tickets were only released in April and had sold out within minutes. Cuesta double checked with Viagogo who confirmed he would receive his tickets.
However, on April 24, he received an email from Viagogo saying the seller could not provide the original tickets but they would receive different tickets and a small amount of compensation. Cuesta reluctantly accepted the offer. On May 12, two days before the event, he received a follow-up email saying that no tickets would be provided after all, leaving him “devastated.”
With a hotel room and flights booked, Cuesta fortunately managed to buy tickets for the dress rehearsal on May 14 and intends to watch the finals on a screen in Turin city centre with his partner.
Cuesta and Hila aren’t the only ones furious with Viagogo. A Facebook group titled “Victims of Viagogo” has over 12,000 members from across the world sharing their woes. “I bought 2 tickets to The Eagles at The KFC Yum Center last night,” wrote one fan in Kentucky on May 13. “The tickets were not only no good but to a section that didn’t even exist.”
Another wrote on the same day: “Still waiting for our tickets for PSB in Brussels May 17. Keep getting ‘your tickets are available soon’- emails from Viagogo. Is there any point in waiting?”
In 2018, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Agency upheld a complaint against Viagogo which found that its prices were misleading and that it wrongly described itself as an “official” seller for Ed Sheeran’s 2017 tour. “Because Viagogo was in fact a secondary-ticket outlet, we concluded that the claim was misleading,” the ASA stated.
In the same year, Margot James, then-minister for the U.K.’s digital, culture, media and sport department, reportedly called out the ticket re-seller. According to the BBC, she told Radio 5 live: “Don’t choose Viagogo – they are the worst.”
Switzerland-based Viagogo, which in 2019 bought Stubhub, did not respond to Variety’s queries by press time.
A spokesperson for Eurovision said: “The Eurovision Song Contest does not work with Viagogo. While we are obviously disappointed to hear that any fans of the Contest have been scammed, we make it clear on our ticketing page that tickets can only be resold through the website FanSale.it and resale on any other site is explicitly prohibited.”