Some Harry Potter fans still waiting for refunds for cancelled ball
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:54PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2019 9:51PM EDT
A company responsible for a Harry Potter-themed ball in Toronto is no longer returning phone calls or e-mails after their event was cancelled.
The event, called “Yule Ball and Yule Time Magic Market,” was supposed to be held at Toronto’s Exhibition Place in December.
The Facebook page for the ball said that a ticket will get participants access to a themed holiday market, a “magical feast,” a wand class, and dancing with a DJ.
Katherine Cirlincione, of Milton, said that she and 10 of her friends bought tickets for $73 each to the ball after they saw the event on Facebook.
“(We) started planning right away. We got gowns and we were making headpieces. There was going to be a costume contest.”
But, before the event took place, the organizers, Muggles and Magic, said they had to cancel the event due to legal concerns by Warner Brothers, the production company and distributor of the Harry Potter films.
In a letter posted to the organizer’s website, Muggles and Magic said they have been given “strict guidelines” by Warner Brothers, saying that they would need to change the name of their company, website and all materials with the name “Yule Ball” or any character names from the film.
“We were told by the legal team of Warner Brothers that they have been shutting down events recently but they are willing to help us host this event without infringing on their copyright laws,” the website said
A make-up event called the “Wizards Ball” was planned for January, but it was also cancelled.
“People had hotel rooms, airline tickets, train tickets, most of them non-refundable,” Cirlincione said. “One of the girls I was talking to lost $500.”
An event update was posted to the Muggles and Magic website saying that the company still faced “numerous obstacles” in hosting the January event.
“While we would like nothing more to host this event, we feel it it is best to ensure all refunds have been issued and work on hiring more staff to bring you a higher quality of customer service,” the update said. “We are currently facing multiple legal challenges because of the cancellation from many who feel that we should issue full refunds for hotel and travel expenses.”
Cirlincione said she became concerned when the company stopped communicating with her. On social media, it appeared that many event participants were frustrated trying to get their money back.
“People were asking questions, they weren’t getting any responses,” Cirlincione said. “People were saying ‘I’ve tried emailing, no responses. I’ve tried calling, numbers don’t work.’”
CTV News Toronto reached out to Muggles and Magic by phone and by e-mail, but received no response.
Cirlincione said that she eventually got a refund for her ticket because she paid for it using PayPal, but many other fans are still waiting for their money to be returned.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Pat Foran