BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Tablelist – the ticket-sales service provider – filed a lawsuit against the organizers of the Fyre Festival to recover approximately $3.5 million in ticket sales so that the startup online ticketing and nightlife platform can refund the money to its customers.
The suit, filed in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston, Mass., accuses Fyre Media, Inc., and its high-profile leaders William McFarland; Jeffrey Atkins, known professionally as Ja Rule; Grant Margolin; and Carola Jain of breach of contract, and fraudulently deceiving Tablelist and ticket purchasers. The suit also asks the court to award damages for the impact to Tablelist’s business.
“Like so many other companies, investors and endorsers, Tablelist – and our customers – are victims of a fraud,” said Julian Jung, Tablelist CEO.
According to the complaint, Fyre organizers conducted a fraudulent, highly orchestrated scheme to convince Tablelist to provide ticketing-processing services for the festival, which Fyre falsely marketed as an “exclusive, luxury” event. Event organizers presented Tablelist with numerous assurances the festival would be well-organized and well-funded, pointing to high-profile celebrity endorsements, headlining musical acts, significant sponsorship deals, and a competitive bid process for the ticketing vendor role, according to the complaint.
Based on these assurances, Tablelist sold more than $3.5 million in concert tickets and VIP experiences, passing nearly every dollar through to the Fyre Festival organizers and retaining only 10 percent in escrow for potential consumer credit card chargebacks and ticket refunds, and a transaction service fee.
After the event’s cancellation, Tablelist immediately demanded that Fyre Media return the millions of dollars they had received through ticket sales, the complaint states. Despite announcing that “all festivalgoers this year will be refunded in full,” festival organizers never remitted a penny to Tablelist to pass along to consumers, according to the suit. Ticket purchasers are now pursuing millions of dollars in chargebacks – working through their credit card companies to receive refunds – which vastly exceed the depleted escrow fund.
“Fyre Festival organizers completely left us hanging out to dry as the middleman between this disastrous event and our ticketholders,” Jung said. “All the money sits with Fyre, and we’re fighting back to get those funds to our customers, where they belong.”
Since the Fyre Festival’s spectacular failure, Tablelist, a startup founded in 2013, has had to lay off 40 percent of its workforce on the consumer side of its business while it focuses on the litigation to do right by its customers.