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May 15 2005

Buffy Lover got teeth In Fans' money. A couple who charged Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans 500 pounds to meet the stars of the hit TV show are at the centre of a fraud probe.

This seems to be happening quite a lot with the British Buffy conventions, i remember the Jealous Events people conned a load of people a few years back aswell, the only reliable one seems to be Starfury. Its really terrible when things like this happen, not only beacuse you lose your money, but because fans really look forward to going to these events and seeing these actors and then they're just taken advantage of.
Oh yes, we had a thread about that particular con been cancelled. It's a real shame for the fans.
Wow, that is terrible. I hope it all gets resolved soon and the fans get their money back.
Do British credit cards just not have the same protection as US ones? We can get the credit card companies to chargeback just about anything if it's illegit/fraud. Never pay by check!
I made the mistake of paying for one British Buffy convention by cheque. The event didn't happen and I don't know where the woman who was running the event is now, but I lost a lot of money and didn't have a credit card company to back me up.

Pixels - you're right about it not being just about the lost money. The experience taints my enjoyment of the show because every time I watch Buffy I'm reminded of it, and I feel like an idiot for having faith in the convention.
i've paid for a convention by cheque that got cancelled and i was refunded.

but this is awful.
Well, Whedon fandom has officially arrived. We now have our own crime...
Wow, imagine what kind of trash a person has to be to do such a thing.
I feel bad for the woman who tried to organize the whole thing and is now likely to be villainized by fans all over. Not to mention all the money she's lost. Ugh. And poor fans...
This demonstrates the importance of checking the track record of an event and its organisers, and taking a long hard look at its probable viability. I remember several of the British fan boards, including a couple that claim to "vet" cons for good value and reliability for fans, praising this event to the skies when it first appeared, just because it was "fan run" and had a couple of board regulars cheerleading it. Yet to anyone who's been around, it was obvious that the combination of sky-high prices, a sparse guest list and siting it in a town that's bleak and hard to get to was going to lead to trouble even if it hadn't been embezzled; ticket sales were reportedly very poor. When Julie Caitlin Brown abandoned them, that ought to have been a bit of a signal, too...

However, anyone who booked by credit card should be able to get their money back - it just takes time.

[ edited by roadrunner on 2005-05-15 20:18 ]
Credit cards are our friends in any type of mail order transaction where you have to wait weeks, if not months, to get what you're buying and when you're dealing with a company you've never heard of before but many fans might me too young to have credit cards and these events often require you to bring the card along as proof of identity (as the Serenity previews did) so even using a parents card may be difficult.

Also, debit cards do NOT have the same protection, only credit cards.
I'm so sorry for the fans who lost money.

Is there a UK sort of version of the Better Business Bureau?

What roadrunner said, too. Always check out the history of the people involved before forking over cash. Even if it's a new event, you can check the history of the organizers and see if they've been responsible with other people's money in the past.

There's also this weird sort of practice where organizers will sometimes start dropping "lesser" names if the organizers don't make enough to cover their appearance fees/travel costs. From the outside, it looks like the person canceled at the last minute. This happened to Fury a couple of years ago, and it just happened to Nick Brendon.

Makes my skin crawl.
Yet to anyone who's been around, it was obvious that the combination of sky-high prices, a sparse guest list and siting it in a town that's bleak and hard to get to was going to lead to trouble even if it hadn't been embezzled; ticket sales were reportedly very poor.

Well... my family comes from the north east of Scotland and I spent many happy years living in Aberdeen. I agree it is hard to get to, but it really isn't all that bleak!
Some of my family come from Aberdeen too. The average temperature in October or April is appreciably lower than down South. It's on the North Sea.

And the "we're dropping you but we'll say you've cancelled" thing happened to Tony Head last year, too.
Cold, yes. Bleak? I had nothing but fun living there and many happy memories to look back on.
This is horrible. A certain trust grows between us and to see con men abuse that trust hurts me deeply. I'm without words.
Starfury hold excellent conventions.

Jealous were amateurs and a lot of the bad feeling for them was wrongly directed at DB imho. I wish Tony would sign up for Starfury's BtVS con this September - Go on Tony, you know you want to......
Starfury run excellent Whedonverse cons. I booked for two cons outside of Starfury - one was S3 Events where the organiser did a runner, and the other was the DB event, which obviously went ahead, but was a very poor event in terms of value for money.

The Do That Girl - I agree that a lot of bad feeling was wrongly directed at DB, but he was grumpy when I met him (he had a right to be annoyed at the way the event was being run, but he shouldn't have been grumpy in front of the fans), and he didn't give good con.

I booked for S3 Events on the strength of the guest line up for the first event which included James Marsters and Tony Head - conwise, you don't really get much better than that. The organiser put tickets on sale for the second event before the first event happened and in hindsight, although it was a stupid move to buy a ticket for the second con before the first one happened, I didn't think that someone who managed to get the likes of James Marsters to their first event would turn out bad. And con goers are usually tempted by organisers to book early with the promise of getting into the meet & greets and cocktail parties and first dibs in the autograph sessions - at least, that's how it works in the UK.

I would advise people thinking about attending a convention to book with a credit card.
Yeah the only 3 conventions i've been to have been StarFury - affordable and run by fans! Always great guests, and the fans are awesome too!

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