Ottawa News | Local Breaking | CTV News Ottawa
Ottawa Geek Market organizer unable to refund fees to vendors after event cancelled
OTTAWA -- COVID-19 has caused festivals and events to cancel this spring; The Ottawa Geek Market was one of them, cancelling less than two weeks before the event.
Some vendors are upset that they have not received refunds for booth fees already paid for the market back in March.
Jennifer Ngo runs a booth called The Littlest Gift Boutique, and was looking forward to taking part in the Ottawa Geek Market at the Nepean Sportsplex this past March.
“A lot of artists and vendors sign up, have their tables setup; they sell the work that they worked on or stuff that they sourced.”
COVID-19 and restrictions surrounding public gatherings caused these type of events to be cancelled, this one with less than two weeks notice; but exhibitors had already paid the organizers for their space,
“The money I paid was not refunded at all, or credited, or partial, or anything at all - it was just like - no money back, that’s it, end of discussion,” says Ngo. She paid $380 and says other vendors are out as much as $2,000.
CTV News Ottawa reached out to the organizers of the Ottawa Geek Market, and in a statement, they write:
"We were not capitalized for a pandemic shut down. We searched for creative solutions to find money and pass that on to our exhibitors, but with no events possible in the near future, and with no insurance or government programs that applied to our situation, we were unable to do so. We were also unable to recoup the tens of thousands of dollars that we had already spent. “
The Nepean Sportsplex did refund the organizer the rental fees for the venue, as confirmed by Dan Chenier, General Manager, Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services with the City of Ottawa:
“All clients with a rental contract for the period of March 16th to June 30th have been issued a full refund. The client responsible for the Ottawa Geek Market rental contract was refunded in early April for the full $27,323.15.”
Lauren Suen is also an exhibitor, and doesn’t understand why she can’t at least get some of her money back,
“I normally attend 52 conventions of the year, they’ve all offered refunds or at least credits to the next year.”
However, other vendors who are also out the rental fee understand. Julie-Anne Dupont was looking forward to doing face-painting at the event.
“An unfortunate situation that’s happened, but I think that considering everything, it’s understandable that there is no money for refunds.”
Suen thinks vendors should get their money back,
“I do think that there is something else going on here…I really feel like small business owners are being taken advantage of - small artists are being taken advantage of here.”