Screamfest = Suckfest: The Continuing Saga

On Friday I wrote about the completely terrible time we had at Screamfest and how we’d been promised a full refund first thing in the morning by the organizers of the event but had still not received one. I also sent an e-mail to the contact listed on their site asking about the refund. After I made that post Wil Wheaton pointed out that reputation is everything in this economy and said:

“I hope that they’ll make good on their promise to provide full refunds to the people who couldn’t get them at the theatre . . . if they care at all about their reputation, I’m sure that they will.”

“There are a ton of events scheduled for the rest of the weekend — events that I’d really dig, like a screening of Friday the 13th — but there is no way they’re getting any of my money until those refunds go out.”

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to tell Wil that all was great so he could attened any of the events because as of this moment I still haven’t received a refund for anything. What I have received are a few e-mails arguing the situation and so far claiming that I will NOT be receiving a full refund. I’ll post those full e-mails after the jump but since Douglas Welch asked me to “Please post the names of the organizers so we can all avoid anything they do in the future” in the comments of that last post I thought I’d do that right here.

This info is from the Screamfest About Us section. An interesting subnote here, they have a page of Testimonials about the event, a good number of which come from people who are listed as being on their Advisory Board – does that strike anyone as odd? Anyway, the person I spoke with the evening of the event who promised me a full refund for all the tickets I bought that night, those for Land of the Dead and Severed was Rudy Scalese who is listed as the Director of Development. The person who has been answering my e-mails is Rachel Belofsky who is listed as being the Festival Director / Founder. There’s also someone named Stan Winston on this “core” page who I have had no interaction with but I did read a quote from him on the Testimonial page about how awesome Screamfest is. E-mails with Rachel are after the jump.

The first e-mail I sent to [email protected] was fairly stright forward, I was just asking about the refund:

Just checking when I should expect my refund for the $75 worth of tickets I had for last nights messed up screenings. I was promised a refund first thing this morning and still haven’t heard anything.

Shortly after that I got this:

I emailed Acteva to issue the refund for the LAND OF THE DEAD tickets. Again, sorry for the technical problems.

All the best,

Rachel Belofsky, Founder / Festival Director
Screamfest Horror Film Festival
8840 Wilshire Blvd., 2nd FL
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
310-358-3273 Phone
310-358-3272 Fax

Acteva is the company who was handling their online ticket sales but telling me that she’s e-mailed them about one of the movies I had tickets for isn’t really telling me much. I wrote back:

I had LAND OF THE DEAD and SEVERED tickets. 3 of each. Haven’t gotten any info about a refund.

She responded:

As you see below, I have forward your request to Acteva to issue the refund to your credit card. I emailed you as well to let you know I have emailed them.

Attached to her e-mail was an e-mail to “[email protected]” saying:

Please refund Sean Bonner his 3 tickets for LAND OF THE DEAD. We had technical difficulties with the LAND OF THE DEAD screening.

OK, at this point I’m sketched out because I feel the buck is being passed off to Acteva, now she can say she told them to refund my money and if they didn’t then Oh Well but she’s also only talking about one of the two movies I had tickets and was promised a refund for. I also have no way of knowing if this is the correct procedure for refunds with Acteva. I wrote back:

It looks like you only e-mailed them about LAND OF THE DEAD, I was told I would receive a refund for that AND SEVERED. Please advise.

The next reply I received cam back moments later and confirmed what I’d feared, that they were trying to get out of part of the refund. Rachel wrote:

No not for SEVERED. There were no technical difficulties with that film. Did you receive the DVD for Land of the Dead?

I didn’t even respond to the question about the DVD because there’s no way that should make up for anything. Everyone recieved a DVD including people who already got their refunds directly to the theater, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for not refunding my money after the fact. However, no I clearly needed to respond with specific details, I wrote:

Rudy Scalese promised me I would receive a refund for ALL of the tickets I purchased for that evening. Severed was started early while I was outside trying to get a refund from the manager of the theater. We were not told it was playing until 20 minutes into the movie. It was also shown for free to everyone who was there. When I asked Rudy about this he said do not worry that all of the tickets purchased, INCLUDING Severed would be refunded.

She wrote back again almost immediatly asking:

So you are telling me you did not see SEVERED?

I confirmed that was correct, I had not seen Severed and haven’t heard a word back since. This last e-mail went through at 2:36 PM on Saturday. I haven’t gotten another e-mail from Rachel, anyone at Screamfest or Acteva. I’ve checked with my credit card company and no refunds have been issued for anything. I’m still waiting…

UPDATE 7:00 PM : After several more e-mails back and forth I’ve confirmed with the Credit Card processer that they have been instructed to refund all of the tickets, and that those refunds should take 2-5 days to show up on my card. I’ll make a new post when the cash is actually back in my hands.

UPDATE 2 : I’ve been refunded for everything finally.

3 thoughts on “Screamfest = Suckfest: The Continuing Saga”

  1. sean: don’t be shy about emailing acteva directly, forward them a copy of the thread (and better yet, a link to this blog) and using these words: “I am about to call my credit card company to do a chargeback on my tickets, since clearly I’m not getting a refund. if I don’t have a credit on my card by this wednesday, 10/26, I’m proceeding directly with visa [or mastercard, whomever].”

    the credit card company will issue a temporary refund, and send you a form to “investigate.” you’ll send them a printout of this blog entry and they’ll make the refund permanent, and ding acteva. who in turn will never, ever want to work with the screamfest people again. chargebacks are evil for credit card merchants.

    good luck….

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