TV and Sci-fi are experiencing a modern-day renaissance period in pop culture. This massive rise in popularity with the creation of instant global communication has led to large communities around the world that have bonded over anything from classical music to a favorite television show. One of the largest groups that have formed is a community based on Sci-fi. These online communities have grown on the internet, but an event called a con, for example Comic-Con, has also grown out of these online communities. The con often brings together fans that seek to gather with other fans, meet famous actors, and often dressing up as a favorite character.
With such a rapid increase in popularity comes the possibility of an actual con. BBB serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky has been investigating a convention company called Walker Stalker, LLC for well over a year. They also operate under the name Fan Fest and Heroes and Villains.
In their own words from their Facebook page, “Walker Stalker Conventions produces events across North America and Europe celebrating the best in horror, fantasy, and sci-fi.” And, “From free panels with celebrity guests to professional photo ops, costume contests, and immersive experiences, Walker Stalker Con lets fans become part of the shows and movies they love!”
The company initially produced conventions that were enjoyed by all and even a few cruises that appeared to enjoy success. However, in late 2018, things began to fall apart. Gold tickets were sold that came with photo ops perks that suddenly changed conditions without notice. Consumers could not obtain a refund even though they had been victims of a contract breach.
Shortly following, the Portland, Oregon convention was abruptly canceled, and consumers were initially promised their refunds would be processed within five to seven days. The refunds never came. Instead, the owner, James Frazier began to promote the next scheduled Walker Stalker con in Phoenix, AR. He offered “deals” like buy one get one free event tickets or upgrades for photo opportunities with stars. Those began failing as well, and the cycle continued.
Fans in twenty-one states and six countries have lost thousands in ticket, travel and lodging expenses to attend “sold out” events only to see them canceled or postponed days before the event with no refund in sight. The investigation found that BBB has logged more than 67 consumer complaints against the company within less than three years.
The company accounts for more than $12,000 in direct losses from ticket purchases that have been reported to BBB. “James is literally running a Ponzi scheme. Taking people’s money to pay for other things, then not paying people back for canceled events.” Said one customer to BBB.
Consumers say the company continues to ignore their request for refunds and continues to postpone scheduled events. The most recent event was to be held in Nashville, TN on August 21, however, it was announced as postponed on August 10 with a new date of January 2020. Walker Stalker, LLC has started to campaign heavily on social media for the next “event” in Atlanta, GA without a mention of the cancellation of the Nashville event. The investigation concluded that Walker Stalker, LLC is not living up to its promises to hold events and is instead using money from the canceled events to pay for advertising future events.
BBB is advising caution to anyone looking to attend a convention hosted by Walker Stalker, LLC.
Before buying tickets to an event, read BBB’s tips on buying event tickets.
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