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Insider Tips

How can we be of service? Let us count the ways. We actually mean service – unlike those who have promised it before and didn’t show up when it counted most. Consider these insider tips your key to consumer affairs.

When excitement turns to disappointment – things you can do about a dud event

Living in the digital age means we're able to plan our adventures from the comfort of our home. We spend our time researching and coordinating, hopeful of having a fun time, usually with our favourite people in tow. So, how can you tell if the event going to be a fizzer or a best-seller when you're reading the promotions?

Watching a loved ones’ excitement for a special experience turn to disappointment is torture.

There are a few tell-tale signs that often appear in the marketing and advertising of events that should be avoided.

Let’s look at the promotion of a recent event, Monster Creature World, as an example of how to spot a dud event.

The family event promised an awesome, life-changing experience for kids. The advertising promised:

“Test your kids’ bravery in front of the six-metre tarantula. Watch them flinch as the six-metre scorpion makes its move. And enjoy seeing them captivated by the clicks and hisses of the termite, locust, fly, mantis, dragonfly and more.”

Unfortunately the kids’ bravery was NOT tested. Instead, parents’ patience was pushed past breaking point.

Warning 1: The marketing seems too good to be true

The adverting promised:

“It’s an exhibition like no other. Featuring audio-animatronic bugs and creatures, scaled-up 500 times, and with the details, moves and sounds that are just like the real thing.”

When you consider the caliber of the event promised, the brief duration the show would run and compare those details with the ticket prices, the tickets were too cheap to deliver what the marketing promised.

Warning 2: High pressure strategies used to sell tickets

For this event, the organisers list more reasons than usual that outline why we should promptly buy tickets. The language used creates a sense of urgency in us that is difficult to resist.

“Unique educational exhibitions like Monster Creature World are very popular worldwide and usually gets sold out before the event day. We advise our customers to purchase tickets in advance in order to avoid disappointments on the day. Because of venue capacity we are forced to have limited number of visitors for each event day.If you do not have tickets until the event day , you are not guaranteed access as we will have very limited quantities of tickets. There will be no ticket sale at the door.”

The marketing material is trying too hard to convince us to buy tickets by claiming it's an unmissable event that will sell out. They are urging us to ‘buy now’. We should be suspicious that the event organisers don't allow us to simply turn up, check out if others are walking out of the event smiling, then decide if we want to buy our tickets.

Warning 3: The website is poor quality and missing key information

The event promotion promises a high quality event, however the website uses poor quality images. The mismatch of quality is concerning.

Also, information about the company itself, including the ABN, is suspiciously missing from the website.

Warning 4: The way your personal and payment details are collected is worrying

It’s VERY unusual for a small-sized event organiser to collect personal and payment information directly on their website. Usually a third-party ticketing company, like Eventbrite or Ticketek, is used. What’s more, we can only buy tickets online and through the event's website, which requires us to provide our personal information and payment details directly to the event organiser.

“And because it’s necessary to manage crowd sizes and ensure social distancing in this era of being COVID-safe, tickets are only available through the online Ticket-box. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to sell tickets at the door.”

Additionally, it is a big red flag that the word ‘tickets’ is misspelled on their website.

     

Our conclusion

Given that there are problems with the way this event has been marketed and run, we are uncomfortable using their purchasing system or giving personal information and credit details. If you have provided your details, keep an eye out in case your details are misused.

How the law protects you

It is good to know the Australian Consumer Law covers us for tickets purchased to attend events. When we purchase tickets online, we are entitled to a refund if the event does not match the advertising.

Ticket sellers are also not allowed to make false or misleading claims about the availability of tickets or include additional charges that were not adequately disclosed at the beginning of the process.

What to do when you encounter false advertising

If you believe an event you've attended has used false advertising to get you to buy tickets, here is what you can do:

  • Request for a refund from the event website or the organisers.
  • If they do not issue a refund, contact the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.
  • Reach out to Handle My Complaint to make sure you've done all the proper steps to get your money back.

If your treasured ticket turns out to be to a dud event, we’re here to help you resolve the issue, dodgy advertising or otherwise.

You can tell us what has disappointed you and what it’ll take for you to become a satisfied patron. Just say the magic words 'Help Me Handle It'.

   -----  Watch our CEO, Jo Ucukalo, on Channel 9's - A Current Affair below. The segment shares the experience of disappointed parents who attended Monster Creature World. Check out the segment and decide for yourself if the event lived up to the marketing hype.