CONSUMERWATCH: Entrepreneurs say they were scammed in trade-show incident
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012 12:18PM CST
Two Winnipeg entrepreneurs say they are out a substantial amount of money after a trade show they paid to be a part of was cancelled at the last minute.
Barb Krause and Kelsey Jarvis said they collectively paid hundreds of dollars to a woman named Linda Buchanan to be involved in a fashion trade show at Assiniboia Downs in March.
Barb Krause paid $600 to be part of the show, but then the event was postponed in March and put over until June,
"She said she had to change the venue - there were too many complaints against the venue," said Krause.
The show was then suddenly cancelled, she said.
Buchanan offered them refunds, but Jarvis and Krause said those refunds never came. Then they searched the internet and found Buchanan was convicted of fraud in Halifax in 2010 and was also facing dozens more fraud-related charges there.
"I was shocked. I was really shocked," said Krause.
Krause and Jarvis aren't alone. Similar allegations surfaced in Prince George, B.C. recently, and in 2008 Buchanan cancelled trade shows in the United States and allegedly did not provide refunds.
"I'm really, really frustrated. I'm upset, and I feel taken advantage of," said Jarvis.
The Better Business Bureau has received more than a dozen complaints about Buchanan's two companies based in Halifax.
"The nature of those complaints are alleged non-payment for services - setting up trade shows and cancelling them, failing to provide refunds and lack of customer service," said Jill Atkinson of the Better Business Bureau in Halifax.
CTV News contacted Buchanan but she declined an interview. Buchanan said she is working with the vendors to provide refunds.
Krause and Jarvis said at this point they don't think they'll ever see their money again, but both said they've learned an important lesson.
"Check with colleagues, check on the Internet - don't just send out your money," said Krause.
Krause has filed a report with the Winnipeg police. Investigators said they are now looking into the matter.
Buchanan is set to appear in court in Halifax on May 22.