Mandurah Performing Arts Centre warns patrons of Viagogo tickets selling for 'inflated prices'

Mandurah's premier entertainment venue has urged its patrons to buy tickets directly from their website, warning that people using international online ticketing re-seller site, Viagogo, were unnecessarily paying more than they needed to.

The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) issued an official "buyer beware" media release last month to warn patrons that Viagogo was selling tickets to local shows at inflated prices.

MPAC chief executive Guy Boyce said people overseas were purchasing the maximum number of tickets allowed at one time and selling them online at an increased rate - with Viagogo claiming "lucrative" booking fees in the process.

"[Patrons] are basically paying double most of the time. One poor lady paid about $300 in extra booking fees on Viagogo that we don't charge," he said.

"And the tickets are not technically valid because we don't grant people the right to on-sell so strictly speaking, we honour it, but some (venues) are deciding not to."

Mr Boyce said there was a number of differences to note when purchasing tickets from the official website compared to Viagogo, including not being able to choose your own seats and not having the option to exchange or refund tickets.

[Patrons] are basically paying double most of the time.

MPAC chief executive Guy Boyce

"They put ads on Google so if anyone searches the name of the show plus 'Mandurah', they pick the first option on Google and it's theirs and they don't check," he said.

"It's part of their business model on their site to say that there are only so many tickets left to encourage you to purchase them, when in actual fact often you will find there are plenty of seats available on our site."

Photo: Facebook/Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

Photo: Facebook/Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

In a post on Facebook last month, MPAC warned its patrons to be aware of Viagogo selling tickets to local Mandurah shows.

"It's come to our attention that Viagogo.com is using some shonky marketing tactics, stating some MPAC shows are sold out or nearing capacity and bumping up ticket prices by 150 per cent," the post read.

"Please do not purchase tickets from Viagogo - they are not an authorised ticket seller for Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

"When a show is sold out we will be the first to let you know, otherwise use our website directly or call our lovely box office team for all your ticketing inquiries."

A Viagogo spokesman said tickets purchased on the site were definitely valid.

"Customers can be confident that the tickets they have purchased on Viagogo are legitimate," he said.

"When fans access Viagogo, they are using a safe, secure and reliable platform that is protected by the Viagogo guarantee and supported by 24-hour customer service.

"Secure and transparent re-sale sites like Viagogo play an important role in the ticketing market by giving fans a second chance to buy tickets to events that may have missed out on first time round, and for those that find out they can no longer attend, a chance to sell their ticket."

Customers can be confident that the tickets they have purchased on Viagogo are legitimate.

Viagogo spokesman

The spokesman said extra booking fees were necessary to ensure Viagogo could provide the best "service and protection".

"Our booking fees enable us to provide this level of service and protection, unavailable on other platforms or sites or on the streets outside venues," he said.

"As an additional security measure, ticket sellers are not paid until after a buyer has entered the event.

"It has always been Viagogo's view that once a fan has purchased a ticket, it is their right to re-sell it using a safe and secure platform of their choosing.

"It is unreasonable and unfair to prevent fans from reselling their tickets if they can't make the event."

MPAC business manager Marc Missiaen said the team were working hard to ensure patrons were not at risk of being ripped off.

"All the major promoters have been having trouble with it for ages and now they have expanded into our territory, into smaller venues all across the country," he said.

"The tickets get paid from credit cards with fake names in Ukraine so we're now working with our ticket agency to make sure that people overseas can't purchase anymore with those credit cards, but they will probably find a way around that pretty quickly, they will keep finding loopholes.

"We want to educate people - they have to go to our website, not any other - and especially not Viagogo. There is only one point of sale for our venue and that is our website."

It's almost impossible to stop them but we're working with our ticket provider to come up with the bandaid solutions and we're going to have to consider upgrading our systems.

Guy Boyce

Mr Boyce said it was going to be a long battle to stop Viagogo so it was important to make patrons aware of the site in the meantime.

"It's almost impossible to stop them but we're working with our ticket provider to come up with the bandaid solutions and we're going to have to consider upgrading our systems," he said.

"There is some software we can get that is basically artificial intelligence whereby it learns as it goes along what credit cards to watch out for but its very expensive and we can't afford it.

"We think the best way is to let our client base know but it is problematic."

The Federal Court of Australia recently found Viagogo were in breach of the Australian Consumer Law, following legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the site made false or misleading representations and engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public when reselling entertainment, music and live sport event tickets.

"Viagogo's claims misled consumers into buying tickets by including claims like 'less than 1 per cent tickets remaining' to create a false sense of urgency," he said.

The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre is advising patrons to purchase tickets to shows on their website, by calling the box office on 9550 3900 or by attending in person.