Buying event tickets

When buying event tickets you should check whether the official ticket seller, such as Ticketek or Ticketmaster, has tickets available. 

Make sure you are visiting the official ticket seller’s site and don’t just assume the first web search result that comes up is the official site. This is because some resale sites, like Viagogo, use advertisements on Google to appear at the top of the advertised search results. One way you can ensure you have the official site is to visit the artist or event’s official website and follow the links from there.

If the official site has sold out and you decide to purchase through a resale website, be aware that tickets can be significantly more expensive. You also need to seriously consider the other risks of buying from a resale website, including:

  • the ticket you purchase could be fake
  • you might never receive the ticket
  • the ticket might not have the features you thought you were purchasing eg, specific location in the venue, premium add-ons or wheelchair access.

Ticket reselling websites

There are a number of ticket resale websites operating in New Zealand, such as Ticketmaster Resale and Switzerland based company Viagogo. These websites allow ticket holders to resell their tickets. Where the ticket holder is reselling their tickets, the price is set by the ticket seller. Generally, when you purchase through a resale website you are not buying tickets from the company running the website, you are buying from the ticket holder.

Viagogo

We advise consumers to seriously consider whether buying tickets from ticket reselling website Viagogo is worth the risk. We are currently investigating Viagogo and to date have received more than 300 complaints. Our investigation is focused on alleged false and misleading representations made by Viagogo which could breach the Fair Trading Act. We are currently seeking expert legal advice on whether and how we can enforce New Zealand consumer laws against Viagogo, which is based in Switzerland.

The complaints we have received from consumers include:

  • Viagogo making representations that they were the official ticket seller not a reselling website
  • additional fees not being adequately disclosed
  • consumers being sold fake tickets or the same ticket being sold multiple times
  • consumers purchasing tickets that do not have the seating, access or other attributes that were advertised
  • Viagogo making representations that the number of tickets are limited or selling very quickly, creating a sense of urgency to make the purchase
  • consumers never receiving the tickets they purchased and being unable to get hold of Viagogo to receive a refund.

When the Commission gets involved

The Commission can get involved if there are any concerns under the Fair Trading Act which applies to traders (not individuals reselling tickets). This would include being misled:

  • about the fact that the website sells tickets for resale and is not the official ticket website
  • by statements on the website that imply it is the trader selling the tickets, and not that you are purchasing from an individual seller
  • by transaction fees that are not disclosed upfront.

If you are concerned that you have been misled by a resale website please contact us on 0800 943 600 or complete our complaint form.

The law in relation to ticket reselling

There is no law in New Zealand that prevents event tickets being resold for a higher price than the original sale price of the ticket, except where the event is covered by the Major Events Management Act 2007 (MEM Act). The MEM Act applies to major events held in New Zealand that provide a substantial benefit to the country such as the Rugby World Cup 2011 and the Lions Tour 2017. To date, no concerts have been declared major events under the Act. Tickets for an event covered by the MEM Act cannot be sold for more than the original sale price (including charges such as booking fee and delivery fee). The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment administer the MEM Act and only the Governor-General after consultation with specific Ministers can declare an event a major event under the MEM Act.