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Viagogo says no-no to conned customers!

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Secondary ticketing website Viagogo has been accused of withholding thousands of pounds from customers who were accidentally overcharged.Over 100 people who purchased tickets to see artists including Ed Sheeran through Viagogo have claimed that the company is withholding thousands of pounds in refunds, after a “glitch” saw them overcharged.  Furious customers say that Viagogo is ignoring their complaints, leaving them out of pocket for weeks, with fears they won’t be able to make ends meet due to the blunder.

Supply and demand – but at what cost?

Believe it or not, there once was a time when everything didn’t sell out in 26 minutes. When you didn’t have to be hugging your computer at 8.59am, hammering the refresh button like a maniac just to buy tickets to see some overpaid and over-hyped singer that would probably mime their way through half their set list anyway.

This is the new normal when it comes to buying event tickets, and secondary ticketing websites like Viagogo make their money out of the disorganised slow coaches (like me) who are forced to look for tickets elsewhere after the general sale.

But these tickets come at a cost. Because they’re often only solution for desperate fans to get into a sold-out gig, second hand ticket agents can more or less name their price. It’s not uncommon to find tickets on these websites for more than 5 times their face value.

Which is why, frankly, it’s a such poor form for Viagogo to be overcharging their already exploited customers – accidentally or not.

Yes, accidents can happen. Technology can, and does, go wrong at times. No biggie – or so you’d think.

The way in which a company handles such a breach of customer trust can make or break their business. And Viagogo are a perfect example of how NOT to do it.

According to the angry ticket buyers affected, the company is still withholding money – despite the glitch happening several weeks ago. A Facebook group called Victim of Viagogo, has been set up as a support forum for anyone affected by the “glitch” that saw them pay over the odds for concert tickets. One customer expecting to be billed £170 was horrified to find a £917 charge from Viagogo on her statement, while another was overcharged by almost £700 for a pair of Ed Sheeran tickets.

A Facebooker scorned…

It is truly baffling trying to understand why the company, even after admitting their mistake, are still holding back the refunds. We’re not sure who their Head of Customer Service is, but they need a good hard poke in the eye and a side order of career advice, because they’re clearly in the wrong field. Seems like their PR team are having a month off, too.

In this day and age, it’s hard to silence your critics. There was a time when a strongly worded letter was the furthest a complaint would get taken, but in 2017 the tables have turned. Social media enables customers to communicate with companies quickly, efficiently, and to the horror of the business – publicly.
A bad review or negative comment can be seen and shared by millions in a very short space of time – which is the very definition of a PR nightmare for any brand worth their salt.

So how should Viagogo have dealt with this?

Let’s be honest – by doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they did. The wrongly-taken monies should have been returned to the customers as soon as the glitch was discovered, accompanied by a grovelling phone call to each and every person affected and a pair of complimentary tickets to a future gig of the customer’s choosing – it’s not like they can’t afford it! This should then have been followed up with a statement to the press, offering a thorough explanation of what happened and the steps taken to resolve it. Sometimes, the way a business handles a monumental cock-up can actually reverse the damage done in the first place and paint them in a positive light.

It will be interesting to see how this saga unfolds. Could this be the end of Viagogo? Quite possibly. With the government recently agreeing to regulate the secondary ticketing industry in a separate blow to the company, the future of the ticket giants is looking bleak.

It was always said that today’s bad news is tomorrow’s chip paper. Thanks to the ever growing digital platform, this is no longer the case. Here at The Monachie project, we can help you understand what your customers really think of your brand, and equip you with the skills you need to not only manage – but exceed your customers’ expectations. Get in touch to find out more.

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