Comic fans and running enthusiasts are being warned to be on their guard after families donned fancy dress costumes and headed to Sutton Park for a “fan-freaking-tastic” Comic-Con Run – only to find that it wasn’t taking place.
A number of similar events are still being advertised by the company behind the planned event.
The Metro newspaper and other news outlets report tickets for the 5K run, which was due to take place on Sunday, were sold at between £20.98 and £25.28. Organisers promised an event that was “all about having fun” and advised participants to dress up as a ‘dastardly villain’.
Families turned up at Sutton Park in the West Midlands only to find that there was no sign of such a race taking place.
The web site comicconrun.co.uk is still live although their Twitter account has been inactive since 20th May. The Facebook page for a “virtual run” is still live, but has not been updated since early July. The Facebook page for the physical event has been removed.
The site is registered to a company called Creative Human Events, via an office at a London-based business centre. A limited company with the same name is listed by Companies House at an address in Belfast, but was only incorporated in March 2016. Only one officer, Alison Kennedy, is listed.
Although the comic-con run page selling tickets on Eventbrite has been removed, Creative Human Events still has a page on Ticket Source advertising a number of “Dirty Girls Mud Runs” across the UK later in the year. The company also runs the Zombie Survival Camp events across the UK but the Facebook page for those has also been removed, Savage Races (that web site is registered to a different London address) and Run For a A Good Cause, but the page features no information.
The Manchester Evening News reports another “Comic Con Run” is being advertised as taking place in Heaton Park in October.
Mum Jo Dulson-Cox had spent £90 on tickets for her family as well as splashing out on superhero outfits. “The kids all got dressed up ready to go and there’s nothing here, no signs,” she told the Birmingham Mail.
The paper also reports those who booked through EventBrite will get refunds for ticket purchases and the same article has a wealth of good advice for people thinking of booking for a new event they may not have heard of before.
Tips include paying by credit card or through an organisation like Paypal – you will be better covered than if you pay by debit card; if it’s a new event, check social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (launched in April 2016, the Twitter account @comicconrunuk had posted just 12 tweets); and look for spelling mistakes and other clues on websites.
The advertised run has no association with MCM Comic Con or similarly named events in the UK.
An Eventbrite spokesman told the Birmingham Mail: “We are a self-service platform that allows organisers to create and sell tickets for their events.
“Although we are not involved in the production of the Comic Con Superheroes Fun Run Birmingham, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to people who register through our platform.
“We have reached out multiple times to the organiser of this event, asking them to issue refunds, but unfortunately have heard no response.
“Because of this, we have chosen to reach into our own pocket and refund all participants who purchased tickets on Eventbrite.
“Attendees can expect to see the refund on their credit card statements within seven business days.”
“I kicked off about the Liverpool event months ago,” says comic creator Chris Welch, who felt it was an “obvious scam”. The Liverpool run in September, is still live on Eventbrite but tickets are “unavailable”. “If it happens I will be very surprised.”
“So many ‘events’ on Facebook are, he continues. “You ‘Like’ their Facebook page for a non-existent ‘water slide through Liverpool!’ event, they get all your details. These guys took it a step further by actually selling tickets. Normally they’re just scalping personal data.”