SINGAPORE – Mr Prakhar Goyal and his friends were looking forward to celebrating his 24th birthday at a New Year’s Eve beach party on Sentosa.
It was to feature well-known music DJs such as Rave Republic, Jade Rasif and Simon Patterson, and drone shows throughout the night.
But three days before the NYE Beach Party and Drone Show 2022, organiser D1 Racing e-mailed Mr Goyal and other ticket holders to say that the party was cancelled because Rasif and her replacement, Amber Na, could not perform that night.
Tickets for the party were sold at $88 for the party pass, and $128 and $168 for VIP passes.
VIP pass holders were promised access to air-conditioned zones and free alcohol, and the top-tier tickets were to give holders the opportunity to mingle with the guest DJs and championship drone pilots.
In the e-mail dated Dec 28, D1 Racing gave ticket holders a redemption code to claim a free ticket for the 2023 party while it “explored the possibility of a refund”.
Since then, Mr Goyal and many others have been trying to get a refund for their tickets, and police reports have been lodged.
Mr Goyal had contacted the organiser immediately after receiving the e-mail to say that he and his friends were not interested in attending the 2023 event, and wanted a refund instead.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get any mail back from the event organisers,” he said. “They just disappeared, and we didn’t hear a word back about any future event or possibility of a refund.
“We felt that we had been scammed and did not what to do as this was our first time experiencing such fraud in Singapore.”
Mr Goyal searched Facebook, Google and Telegram for others in the same situation. So far, 44 people have come forward to say they could not get their refund.
Student Min Khant, 21, who contacted Mr Goyal, said: “As soon as I realised that the event was cancelled, I tried to get a refund instead of using the redemption code for the other event that has yet to be confirmed.
“After I didn’t get a reply, I assumed that I was being scammed and made a police report.”
The police have confirmed that reports have been lodged and they are looking into the matter.
Responding to queries by The Straits Times, Sentosa Development Corporation said that D1 Racing booked the space on Siloso Beach in October.
“Upon being informed of the event’s cancellation, SDC immediately requested the event organiser to inform all ticket holders of the cancellation as they were solely responsible for all marketing, ticket sales and execution of the event,” SDC said.
Rasif said she had pulled out of the event for personal reasons.
She told ST that she found out that she was one of the featured acts only on D1 Racing’s Facebook advertisement, and that she then asked the organiser for payment and assurance that it had the necessary licences for the event.
She added: “We reminded the organisers that my attendance was not confirmed until we received a deposit and conducted due diligence, and requested they stop using me in ads until then.
“We ceased any further negotiations with D1 after realising some inaccuracies in their contract.”
The 28-year-old, who is also a social media influencer, said that the organiser did not have permission to use pictures of her in its promotion, and was told four times to remove them, but it was not done.
Replying to ST queries, D1 Racing said that the event had to be cancelled due to drastic changes, adding that it was “left stranded and had no choice but to cancel the event”.
D1 Racing said it will provide free VIP tickets for its next event regardless of the ticket tier that customers bought for the Siloso beach party.
“We will be issuing wallets to all guests and topping them up with the amount that each guest paid,” it said.
“This will enable them to purchase other products or tickets to other events as well.”