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HomeBusinessRace promoter reticent about refunds: CEO says contract limits what he can say

Race promoter reticent about refunds: CEO says contract limits what he can say

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Bob Mackin

The promoter of the cancelled electric car race around East False Creek says he cannot say when ticket holders will receive refunds. 

“Of course, those people will get their money. I’m as transparent as I’m allowed to be, by the confines of all the agreements that are signed with the various stakeholders,” said OSS Group CEO Matthew Carter.

OSS Group’s Matthew Carter (LinkedIn)

Vancouver’s first Canadian E-Fest, including an ABB Formula E World Championship tour race, was scheduled June 30-July 2, but cancelled in late April after OSS Group had failed to secure all necessary permits. 

Carter said OSS Group does not hold the ticket money, but would not say who does or the total dollar amount of tickets sold.  

“The ticket holder will be informed every single step of the way as to how they get their money back, what the situation is, what the solution is,” Carter said. “Right now, legally, I am not allowed to tell you anything more.”

Carter would not explain why a contract would bind him from publicly discussing refunds. He denied there is a cashflow issue or that his company is in arrears with creditors. 

“I cannot give you a date, because legally I am not allowed. I cannot tell you where the money is held, because legally I’m not allowed,” Carter said.

Carter originally claimed 33,000 tickets were sold through ATPI Sports Events, but now says the figure was 36,000; he said he did not know how many were sold at full price. 

In May, Carter hoped ticket holders would be able to transfer their tickets to the 2023 race date. In June, Formula E terminated all contracts with OSS Group and Vancouver was not included on its 2023 calendar.

“We expect OSS Group to ensure that it proceeds to a full refund of these tickets and to provide details on this process in the short term,” said the June 17 Formula E statement.

Map of the proposed route for the Vancouver Formula E race.

At the time, Carter said ATPI would contact ticket holders after July 2. 

Film industry worker Andrew Chobaniuk spent $210 for general admission tickets last October. 

On May 16, Canadian E-Fest told him by email that his request for a refund was logged and the process would begin once the 2023 date was announced. Since then, Chobaniuk called his credit card provider, TD, which began investigating.

“My advice to people would be to call their bank, especially if they paid with a credit card,” Chobaniuk said. “Because, there are protections and insurance built into those.”

Chobaniuk lost confidence in OSS Group and is less likely to buy advance tickets to any event.

“I wouldn’t be involved, especially with this company, there’s no chance I give them my money,” he said.

The three-day festival was also supposed to include a celebrity electric car race, electric vehicle test drives, a concert by Nickelback and a business conference headlined by environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich and former Mexican president Felipe Calderon.

Green Coun. Mike Wiebe co-sponsored the April 2021 motion with ABC’s Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung to bring Formula E to Vancouver. He still thinks the city can be a good host for the event, but admits he is also waiting for a refund.

“We’re going to have to bring in a new management team, because it has been very difficult and some of the issues with the local management team and just not being able to get great information or clarity on some of these things,” Wiebe said. “We had some discussions with Matthew and others that I don’t think fully represented what was actually going on.”

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