NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An event touting a world-class dinosaur exhibition featuring life-size, robotic, animatronic dinosaurs is not coming to Nashville as advertised. The news has left many families upset and out money.
A look on Facebook showed that The Dinosaur Festival is taking place this weekend at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, but park officials said that’s not the case. They told News 2 event organizers cancelled the festival in May, but apparently failed to alert ticket holders, while keeping their money and leaving park employees to deal with the fallout.
“They are looking for refunds, which I can certainly understand. They are upset,” Park Manager Jerry Wooten explained.
He made it clear The Dinosaur Festival, also known as The Dino Expo, was never endorsed by a Tennessee State Park. They leased the park to organizers as they often do for various events throughout the year.
“What the website illustrated sold a very promising event for us that unfortunately did not happen,” said Wooten.
The event first set for March was rescheduled due to ongoing park repairs, but then organizers of the Dino Expo cancelled telling park officials there wasn’t enough interest in the event.
“I fell for it,” Brenda Calderon told News 2, saying she bought eight tickets.
Kevin Nolen said he bought three. “I figured I’m blessed to get out for just $33. First time that I know that I’ve been gotten. Now I know about making sure you know who the organizer is.”
Ticket buyers unable to get ahold of event organizers turned to the park office who said they refunded the organizers their $7,000 deposit months ago.
“The email contacts that we had have disappeared, and there’s no way that we’ve been able to contact them. I think it has scam written all over it,” said Wooten.
Officials with the Better Business Bureau said they’ve heard a number of concerns as well.
“You know this is disappointing. Kids love dinosaurs, and the prices were very reasonable, which I’m sure was part of the lure in,” said Robyn Householder, President and CEO of the BBB in Middle Tennessee.
She added, “What I’m hearing from consumers is when they try to communicate they are being blocked, they are not getting responses, and so clearly this is an intentional concern.”
The BBB has been investigating and said the company did the same thing in San Antonio, promoting an event called Jurassic festival.
They have also identified those managing the Facebook page for the Nashville’s event and told News 2 that they are in South Africa, Canada & Swaziland.
The BBB said consumers should always know who they are doing business with. Use reputable, well established ticket vendors and make sure to use a credit card for your purchases, as you can often get refunds for fraudulent activity from the bank.