Investigation

Consumers Lose Thousands on a Music Festival That Never Happened

Companies involved blame each other, leaving music goers with no event and no refunds

NBC Universal, Inc.

When Sarah Johnson learned about a music festival in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, she was all in. 

“I was like, oh yeah, Stella’s getting her groove back,” she joked.

Johnson paid the promoter, Music Getaways, $3,300 to attend the January event. But the night before it kicked off, Music Getaways emailed attendees saying the event was canceled. 

“My heart kind of dropped. And all I could think about is, are you serious?” said Johnson. 

In that email, Music Getaways blamed the hotel, Hard Rock, saying it canceled the festival. In a statement issued at the time, Hard Rock Hotel confirmed it did pull the plug, because, it said, Music Getaways didn’t pay them what it was supposed to.

Johnson just wants her money back. She said she asked Music Getaways for a refund, but she hasn’t received a dime. 

“You literally scammed me out of all this money that I really don’t have,” she said.

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Steve McFarland with the Better Business Bureau has been getting complaints too, and he said no one’s getting refunds. He’s not optimistic they will, either. He pointed to the terms buyers agree to when purchasing tickets: Sales are non-refundable, under any circumstance.

“A legitimate promoter, somebody who’s been doing this a long time, they don’t have these kinds of problems,” said McFarland.

In a statement to the I-Team, Music Getaways insisted it did pay the hotel. We asked if it would show proof, but it declined, due to possible litigation. But the company did say it's working to get customers refunded or the event rescheduled.

Johnson said that’s not good enough. 

“If I can't trust you, there’s no reason for me to deal with you anymore,” she said. 

Experts suggest you pay with a credit card for big purchases like this, so you can dispute the charge if something goes wrong. 

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