Consumer complaints mount after NYE pub crawl fails

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – New Year’s Eve is the premier party night of the year, and the preparation begins with the event ticket.

“Lilly from Philly” was ready to celebrate with a pub crawl in the City of Brotherly Love. We are giving her a pseudonym to protect her identity.

“One of the bars is my favorite bar in the city; it’s called Drinkers Pub. I was excited to see we were able to get in there,” Lilly said.

Lilly saw the pub crawl advertised on the website Eventbrite and bought six tickets at $55 each for herself and friends. She then contacted the bars advertised to confirm their involvement.

“(I) tried to get (the bars) to verify if the link that I used to purchase the tickets was legit,” Lilly said. “A couple of them said yes, but one said, ‘Hey, we are not familiar with this event organizer.’”

Lilly then emailed the event organizer, who followed up with a phone call.

“It was a very interesting conversation, I’d say,” Lilly said. “The first thing he asked was, ‘Hey, am I being recorded?’”

Lilly exchanged text messages with the event organizer, asking for a list of bars that agreed to participate. The man responds that he was adding more bars to the list, noting twice that the crawl was real.

“Our hands were tied. We had purchased the tickets,” Lilly said. “If it doesn’t happen, (we would) figure something else out.”

This might ring a bell, as in mid-December, Soulard bar owners learned that the same promoter was including their businesses in advertisements for a NYE pub crawl in St. Louis. Jon Vieluf from Big Daddy’s told FOX 2 that his bar was not affiliated with the event or the promoter.

“All of our bars, like Big Daddy’s, D’s, (and) Grizzly Bear, we all do our own events,” Vieluf said. “We don’t want customers being upset.”

Back in Philadelphia, Lilly’s New Year’s fears of being defrauded came to fruition.

“We walk into the bar, and they have this printed-out flyer (that) has a picture of the event listing from Eventbrite and it says, ‘The bar crawl organizers never showed up. There’s nothing we can do,’” Lilly said.

Lilly then sent a photo of the flyer to the event organizer she had been messaging earlier, saying, ‘Well?’ but did not get a response.

Eventbrite did not respond to requests for comments from FOX 2. In December, the promoter also hung up on FOX 2’s Mike Columbo when asked about the business.

A spokesperson did say, “Our trust and safety team reviews all reported listings and takes the applicable actions when necessary, which might include refunding orders and communicating with affected attendees if an event is determined unauthorized or significantly not as described.”

In the end, Lilly reported the situation to Eventbrite and was given a full refund.

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