*** UPDATE: Charlotte resident and craft vendor of KC Designs, Kate Church, has received a refund. ***
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The holidays are a busy time of year for small business craft vendors who often depend on fairs and expos to sell their items.
In early December WBTV had organizers of a Christmas expo on our weekend morning show to share information about an upcoming event for vendors.
After seeing that interview, Charlotte resident and craft vendor of KC Designs, Kate Church, reached out to WBTV with concerns - she said the date and the venue had been changed with a little more than a week's notice.
Church said when she asked about a refund because of a scheduling conflict, she wasn't prepared for what happened next.
"A lot of the stuff I had pre-made to have for Christmastime and for a two-day event," Church said.
That's why Church says she was disappointed in late November when the date and venue for the two-day Queen City Christmas Expo on December 7 and December 14 was changed.
“They changed everything to December 21 from 1 to 10,” Church said. “They changed it from an event location in Charlotte to Fort Mill.”
Church says she already had family plans on the new date, so she asked event organizers with Create Amazing LLC for a refund for her $100 vending spot.
"They told me that I had to wait 21 business days over a month or so," Church explained.
Church says she asked why the wait would be so long, but didn't get an answer. She says she then found out on Facebook that another vendor was told she wouldn't get a refund for the $200 she spent on two vendor spots.
"She [the other vendor] commented on the same date and on the thread and said, 'Everybody beware of this they change the date they’re not giving us a refund don’t want this to happen to anybody else,'" Church said.
Church showed WBTV screenshots from that exchange. Queen City Events - the Facebook page connected to Create Amazing LLC - responded by saying, "You try to pull this every December for the last two years."
The Facebook user denied saying that and replied, "Nice Try!" and that "they had never commented before."
Church responded as well, saying, "You did this to me too.. and I've never been associated with you before."
Queen City Events then replied, "You sound obsessed. You can't stop commenting on our post. We have clearly consumed your life."
"I said 'people really care if you take their money, so if you just give us our money back it’s not a problem.'" Church said. "And I got a message from one of the women that works there that said, 'Somebody’s going to show up at my next event that I vend at - and that they'll just handle everything there.'"
Kate showed WBTV that message as well, saying she felt it was a threat. The profile of the woman who commented states that she is the Creative Director at Create Amazing LLC.
"My biggest thing is: you can’t just bully people. So if you’re - especially if you’re a big company - and you put on a lot of events, if people want a refund for something and you’re not doing, that you can’t just bully them into giving up," Church said.
WBTV checked the Eventbrite page for the Expo when Church first reached out in early December. Under the refund policy, it states, "Contact the organizer to request a refund."
WBTV then reached out to Create Amazing LLC, who said that refunds would be processed in 30 days.
This week, WBTV spoke by phone to the vendor who was told she wouldn't get a refund. She said she did get a refund, but only after she filed a credit card claim.
At the time this story first aired, Church told WBTV she was still waiting on her refund. The event's Eventbrite page was updated under the refund policy to say there would be "No Refunds."
WBTV had reached out to Create Amazing LLC again that same week to follow up on the refund confusion and concerns about the messages and posts. Organizers said that "Refunds have started and most vendors were already refunded. Anything outside of that, I don't know what you are talking about."
Church told WBTV while there was still a few days in the 21 business day window, she had already reported her concerns to PayPal and Eventbrite.
"I reported it to PayPal and Eventbrite and told them what was going on, so I feel pretty confident that PayPal is usually pretty good about that - if you pay for a service or product - and they’re pretty good about refunding your money," Church said.
After our story aired, event organizers with Create Amazing LLC told WBTV Church’s refund had been processed the night before.
Church forwarded us an email from Eventbrite dated that same evening which stated, “Eventbrite has proactively refunded her disputed order to protect her and she should get her refund in 7 business days.”
We reached out to Eventbrite for confirmation on whether Eventbrite or the organizers of the event gave Church her money back. They told us they are “unable to release transaction-specific details to external parties.” But added they will quote, “continue to work with the organizers of the Queen City Christmas Expo to address any refunds requests received through our platform and deliver the best outcome possible.”