There's no smoke without Fyre

It's festival season and for many across the globe that means headlining acts, barrels of beer and those unforgettable port-a-loos, as visitors flock from all over the world for a few days of musical madness.

This month, the long awaited Fyre Festival, organised by recording artist Ja Rule, opened to those who could afford the $400-100K tickets, with promises of luxury yachts, cabanas, meal options, and entertainment. With notable celebrity endorsements, party-goers were expecting something that resembled a tropical paradise, decorated Coachella, but were greeted by quite the opposite.

Fyre starters took to social media with claims of lost belongings, tents on fire, rabid dogs and sandwiches consisting of just stale bread. The disaster of an event started to resemble an episode of Survivor. But we can assume that this isn't a Netflix documentary or a social experiment. This is real.

How have the organisers managed to pull off one of the biggest possible scams on Millenials to hit social media this year?

In this generation, individuals are often found glued to social media and empowered and influenced by celebrity endorsements. Our perception of reality has changed and over-edited photography blurs the boundary between what is fake and what is real. Sometimes we need to take a step back and understand that, not everything is as it appears to be.

In this instance, many young partygoers were manipulated and misled by advertisements including Kendall Jenner into thinking they were attending the ‘place to be’ on the luxurious island of Exuma, paying out for:

·         Private chartered jets

·         Cabanas and yachts for accommodation

·         Food catered by Stephen Star

·         Extra security on baggage and locker facilities

·         Well-equipped staging and headlining acts such as Blink 182

But what was delivered, was inadequate and stale food, lack of water and lighting, crammed economy class seating and understocked planes, luggage mishandled and stolen, no security and unresponsive organisers, leaving youngsters vulnerable and afraid.

To add to injury, the Fyre Festival refund policy kept it short and sweet, with ‘All sales are final. There are no refunds.”

No explanation can describe the experience of being defrauded, knowing you’ve agreed to a contract and bought into something you envisioned as life changing, only to find that upon delivery, it is not as promised.

What can you do if you’ve been a victim of such circumstances?

There are two main issues that arise here:

Misrepresentation

This is a particular kind of fraud claim, in which the respondent is either unaware that the content was false, or did not check to find out whether the fact was true or false. In most circumstances if the respondent fully understood the term, they would not have entered into the contract.

The organisers of the Fyre Festival gave false information in their advertisements. The individuals entered into a contract entirely or partly by a false assertion. Individuals who purchased tickets were led to believe they were going to receive all of the bullet points listed, however, they received the opposite.

Unfair terms in a contract

Always read the terms and conditions carefully, before signing a contract. When you enter into a contract, either by buying a product or service, you are agreeing to the terms set out in that contract.

Companies can choose any contractual terms and conditions they deem fair and reasonable, however, they are not allowed to have conditions that are unfair. Luckily, you are protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which ensures that you are not bound by a term in a contract if it is found unfair.

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed, or similar, Priya Sejpal is the firm’s litigation expert and is happy to help with any queries that you may have. You can contact Priya on 0207 0570 0570 or email priya@gelbergs.co.uk.