Tavern On The Green Plays Halloween Trick On Thousands Of Partiers

Melissa is one of thousands of people who showed up at the bankrupt Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park on Saturday night for a ticket-holders-only Halloween party. She was forced to wait outside at the front of an increasingly agitated mob because the restaurant had sold too many tickets, or because someone had sold fake ones, it’s still unclear. The Daily News says one reveler waited 5 hours before he was finally let in, just before 1:30 am—which was when the party was shut down by police. Now they all want their money back, but Tavern on the Green and the party promoters are blaming each other.

Melissa writes,

I’m hoping you can help escalate the Tavern on the Green Halloween scam where thousands of people were scammed into buying tickets for a party they never got to attend.

We were among the thousands that got stranded in front of Tavern on the Green in the pouring rain and mud for 2 hours only to find out the party was shut down by the police due to overcrowding. What started as an annoying line turned into a dangerous crowd that threatened to riot. I was pushed and shoved and could hear people yelling to storm the doors. I was near the front, so it became a very nerve-wracking experience, hoping they wouldn’t start trampling everyone in front of them. No one ever came out to tell us what was going on; we could only gather information from whatever people in the crowd were hearing.

People spent $60 to $130 for a party that never happened. Tavern on the Green is blaming the promoters for selling too many tickets (apparently 4,000 over the actual # they were allowed) [I can’t verify this number. – Ed.], but all the promoters’ phones have voicemails that direct the blame to Tavern on the Green. Neither side is returning our money to the thousands of us.

It’s amazing how irresponsible Tavern on the Green was as the crowd grew larger and angrier; maybe they didn’t hear about last year’s Walmart trampling?

If you were one of the people who got ripped off on Saturday, here’s a Facebook group where you can share information with others and find out how to fight for your refund.

Update, November 4th 2009: Here’s a message that was just sent out to members of the Facebook group:

Subject: Update on refunds issued!

Update from 7 on your side: UPDATE 12:31pm Wednesday 11/4/09

Alex and Leo Entertainment say they will be responsible for organizing the refunds. The statement says those who purchased valid tickets online using a credit card or PayPal should request a refund directly from the online ticket seller. Customers should also dispute this charge immediately with their credit card company.

The promoters also say “those who purchased tickets using cash should email their refund requests to Halloweenrefund@gmail.com.” Each request “must include a copy of the ticket(s) purchased, together with the place and date of the purchase, as well as the ticket holder’s mailing address. Alex & Leo Entertainment will process each request within four weeks of receipt.”

It’s advised when customers send your email get a documented record of when the email was sent and whether it was received/opened. If you find that refunds aren’t received 4 weeks after delivery of email, contact the promoters at the email listed above. If that doesn’t work, contact 7 On Your Side.

“Tavern on the Green Halloween party from hell, say booted patrons” [NY Daily News]
“We got scammed by Tavern on the Green 2009 Halloween!
(Photo: hmerinomx)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.