Some ticket holders were left empty-handed and wondering if they'll get their money back after a hot air balloon festival was canceled with little notice.
The festival was advertised for months on
social media, The Triangle Balloon Festival, a balloon glow tour coming to the Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro areas.
Tyrone Sanders tells ABC11, "I saw it on Facebook and I was like, I want to go this year, because I've always wanted to go every year, but I just never went. So I decided to go this year and signed up, and got the tickets."
Sanders said he paid close to one hundred bucks for tickets and a parking pass to the September event put on by Balloon Glow Tour.
"They canceled that and said oh, we'll be moving it to October, the end of October."
On the events Facebook page it was posted, "The Meridian Community Foundation Park is not going to be ready in time for this weekend. The new event dates are October 21 to 23, 2022. All tickets are being automatically switched to the new dates. If the new dates do not work for you, message us directly (or email email@example.com) with your order number, name, and email address of the person who booked to receive a full credit."
Sanders was OK with the new date, so this past weekend, he drove from his home in Smithfield to the advertised location in Efland.
"I'm like literally getting off the exit, I'm like, I don't see anything in the air. I'm like what's happening and so I was getting kind of worried. I got to the exact location that was on the tickets and nothing was there. Nothing didn't even like any event was about to happen."
Instead, Sanders was greeted by a sign at what appeared to be a home that said no festival happening here. He then text and email the company and asked for a refund. Sanders said he has yet to hear back from anyone.
Sanders is not alone, ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson has heard from several other ticketholders. Many said just like Sanders they showed up at the address of the event only to learn there was no hot air balloon festival happening. They also said they've reached out about a refund, and have not heard back yet.
ABC11 was able to get in touch with the organizer of The Balloon Glow Tours, Richard Garvie who said, "Notification was sent to all guests with tickets that the event had again postponed and we posted on our Facebook page at least 36 hours prior to the event that the event was postponed. We are aware that some of those emails may have gone to spam but from the people we have spoken to on the phone, they did eventually find the email as we spoke." He adds, "Guests check a box at purchase to check our social media pages before attending the location. Anyone who went to the social media pages would see the updates."
Garvie also claims The Meridian Foundation is building a park where the festival was supposed to take place, and that Balloon Glow Tour paid the foundation to get the park ready for the event, but due to weather the grass did not grow, so they could not have the event there.
ABC11 tried to confirm that with the foundation but has not heard back from anyone.
"In the case of Efland we were unable to use the new park as it was still too muddy for the balloons and also too muddy to ensure the safety of guests. It makes no sense to try and delay another few weeks as we are getting into colder and wetter weather." Refunds were always happening as it states on their Facebook page, but it does take 5 to 7 business days. Anyone that does not get a refund by Wednesday, November 2nd should reach out to The Balloon Glow office, Garvie said.
The best to avoid losing money in a situation like this, is to always use a credit card when you make a purchase. It does offer you the best protection. Several ticketholders said they did file a dispute with their credit card companies.
However, Garvie said that only slows down the refund process.