By now you’ve probably heard of the Pemberton Festival implosion. The annual festival was quietly shut down via bankruptcy in Canadian court last week, with the event’s main backers refusing to refund 18,000 ticket-buyers who spent $280 to $1,000 per ticket for the British Columbia event.
In the aftermath of the event, we’ve learned that the investors declared bankruptcy after having a bulk of the ticketing money advanced to them and made themselves senior creditors to the shell company that controls the Pemberton festival. Their plan appears to be to keep the $6 million paid out to them by Ticketfly — money that comes from consumers and is supposed to help cover festival costs like artist fees — while investors Amanda Girling, Jeremy Turner, Jim Dales and Stéphane Lescure go radio silent and refuse to speak with the agencies, ticketing companies and fans who are demanding answers.
Making things worse, the investors behind Pemberton and their bankruptcy accountants at Ernst & Young are now encouraging ticket holders to charge back the tickets to their credit card companies, knowing that the fees will be pushed back to Ticketfly who will be forced to fight millions of dollars in chargebacks while the investors hide behind bankruptcy protection.
On Wednesday, they added a new document to their bankruptcy page, with a list of phone numbers to credit card companies, telling fans to “contact their bank or credit card issuer directly at the contact numbers provided below in determining whether a refund can be obtained.”
That’s misleading. And probably fraud.
Ernst & Young know that fans are going to have a very difficult time charging back their credit cards for their ticketing refund. Why? Because Ticketfly will fight it. Any ticketing company in the music business knows that credit card chargebacks are a problem for event producers. These same ticketing companies employ very smart, capable people to fight those chargebacks and sources from Tickefly have indicated they’ll definitely be fighting these charges.
Even if Ticketfly ultimately has to take a hit and refund some of the money, it could take months for consumers to get their refunds, slowed down even further if the bankruptcy drags out.
If the investors behind Pemberton were serious about making fans whole, they would cover the refunds with either a) the advance they were paid with the ticketing money b) their own large personal wealth or c) selling the Pemberton site which is currently listed with a price tag of $16.8 million.
But the investors behind Pemberton — Girling, Turner, Dales and Lescure — are instead opting to hide the $6 million given to them by 18,000 trusting music fans and hoping the bankruptcy courts protect them and no one else notices.
Well guess what guys….we noticed.