Hundreds seek payment from event organiser Eventelephant

Dublin company in liquidation as investigation continues

Eventelephant hosted events for clients from a range of sectors, including charities, in return for three to four per cent of the funds raised.

Eventelephant hosted events for clients from a range of sectors, including charities, in return for three to four per cent of the funds raised.

 


An online petition signed by people concerned about getting their money from the liquidated Dublin company Eventelephant Ltd, has been signed by almost 600 people, many of whom represent charities and entities such as music bands.

One of the most recent signatories, David Birkbeck, chief executive of a London-based not-for-profit organisation, Design for Homes, said he knows of 20 small London businesses in his sector who have used Eventelephant’s services and are out of pocket as a result.

Eventelephant hosted events for clients from a range of sectors, including charities, in return for 3 to 4 per cent of the funds raised. It organised the online ticketing and collected the funds, which were then to be passed on to the client, minus the commission.

However, a clause in the standard contract issued by the company said funds would not be passed on until all disputes or “chargebacks” with credit card customers had been resolved.

Out of service
The company’s website gives phone numbers in Dublin, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa and says its staff are available between 9am and 6pm Greenwich Mean Time, Monday to Friday. The Dublin number is no longer in service.

Mr Birkbeck said his company was owed money since 2011. “They sold tickets for a training course on garden cities that we gave. It is a five-figure sum. For a small business like us, a five-figure bad debt is bad news.”

He showed to The Irish Times the emails he received from the Dublin company between September of last year and July of this year, informing him that disputes over payments on their credit cards by attendees at Design for Homes events were holding up payments.

No dispute
Mr Birkbeck told the company at one stage that he had contacted everyone who had attended a particular event, and they had all confirmed to him that they had not disputed the credit card payment.

Yet he continued to receive standard responses and to be told that money due could not be paid until all outstanding chargeback issues had been resolved.

Mr Birkbeck is just one of 591 people who have commented on their dealings with Eventelephant on the website, www.change.org. He said he does not believe his company will ever get the money it is due.

Two weeks ago the High Court was told that one of the directors of Eventelephant, Alan Barrett, from Ashbourne, Co Meath, had checked himself into St John of God’s hospital after his being told of a court order that Permanent TSB give details of Mr Barrett’s personal bank account to his company’s liquidators, Joseph Walsh and Neil Hughes.

A spokeswoman for the liquidators said at the weekend that they would not be commenting on the case and that their investigation was ongoing.

The liquidators were appointed in August after the courts were told that the company, which had been in examinership since July, had no prospect of survival.

Concerns
On August 7th, Mr Justice Paul McDermott heard there were concerns about a criminal investigation by the Revenue and about €1.4 million that had not been paid to parties who had organised particular events.

The latest filed accounts for Eventelephant Ltd are for the year to June 2011 and showed accumulated losses of €3.79 million. The accounts say the directors of the company in 2012 were Eamon O’Brien, Ron Downey, Eamon Walsh, PJ Henehan and Alan Barrett, and that all of them bar Mr Henehan were also shareholders in the company. The company was in receipt of directors’ loans and new share capital at the time.

The current directors of the company are Mr Downey and Mr Barrett. Attempts to get a comment from all the directors were unsuccessful.