Students upset after crowdfunded company fails to host hyped party
THE SANTA CLARA
April 21, 2016
Santa Clara students are demanding their money back after college party company I’m Shmacked raised over $30,000 for a concert advertised to be held near campus in February. Despite months of anticipation, the party hasn’t happened yet.
“If they don’t have any concrete details I want a refund,” said first year Zach Feece. “They can’t just keep dragging this on, they have a lot of our money, so that’s not really fair to do.”
Over winter break in December of 2015, Tilt posted an event online, advertising an I’m Shmacked concert for Santa Clara students. Early on, tickets were being sold for $32.99. I’m Shmacked soon raised the price to $39.99. As of April 20, the company had sold 954 tickets, meaning that I’m Shmacked raised between $31,472 and $38,150 through the Tilt page.
There was no date, time or venue set for the event, but the party promoters assured the event would take place in February.
I’m Shmacked frequently films parties and has held successful events at schools like the University of Southern California and Syracuse University. They post footage on their social media sites of girls slurping vodka from ice luges and clutching red cups in the living rooms of fraternity houses. Videos often show bro-tank wearing men chugging beer out of colossal funnels and throwing themselves on top of collapsable tables covered in solo cups.
I’m Shmacked also tours around the country to host and film concerts for college students. The company holds yearly pool parties in Arizona, filming bikini-clad students standing in pools, bouncing up and down to the music while clutching inflatable animals—the most recent one was held on April 9 and featured a performance from Lil John. Another I’m Shmacked concert, a DJ set, is advertised to take place at a coliseum in Providence, RI on April 21.
Despite ticket sales at Santa Clara nearly surpassing 1,000, the company failed to provide concrete details as months passed by. Then, on April 1, I’m Shmacked posted a picture on the Tilt page advertising that the event would take place at Ruby Skye nightclub in San Francisco on April 13.
Many students commented on the page, saying they were upset that it was going to be held so far away from campus. The date also conflicted with the on-campus Sage the Gemini concert.
However, both Ruby Skye and I’m Shmacked posted no information about the event on their websites.
“The fact that they would throw the event at a venue in SF where most Santa Clara students wouldn’t be able to go is an unfair business practice,” said senior Mike Panetta, who purchased aticket for the event months ago. “I know personally I wouldn’t be able to afford a trip down to SF.”
Freshman Matthew Curtin said he and his friends bought tickets to the event over Christmas Break when it was originally advertised and were excited about attending.
However, it upset him when he heard the event was going to be held on a Wednesday in San Francisco, since he doesn’t have a car on campus.
“With 8 a.m. class on Thursday, I knew a trip to San Francisco wasn’t in my plans, so my friends and I requested refunds, posted on their page and personally emailed I’m Shmacked,” Curtin said, “We got no response from them. It feels a lot like we got scammed.”
Panetta contacted Tilt asking for a refund because the event was located in San Francisco.
A member of the Tilter Happiness Team messaged him back, saying that it was unfortunate that I’m Shmacked pushed back the expiration date of the Tilt and kept changing the details of the event.
“I’m Shmacked has been working hard in finding a venue that fits everyone who bought a ticket, and it was not their intention to scam students,” the email stated. “We are passing on the feedback to the I’m Shmacked team, reminding them not to extend their tilt or change the details too many times. We hope to finalize the correct action with this event in the near future, i.e. having a firm date or refunding people.”
Oddly enough, the April 13 San Francisco concert never happened.
In the midst of the backlash, I’m Shmacked posted a response, stating that they decided to relocate the Santa Clara event to a closer location at a more convenient date.
However, they provided no concrete time, date, location or list of performers for the event.
“We want our fans to know one thing and one thing only—we care about them and want to ensure that the best possible time is had representing Santa Clara,” the April 14 update stated.
“In the coming week we will have updated information pertaining to the event, which would be followed by the distribution of tickets to those who have contributed to our I’m Shmacked Tilt,” the team added.
The April 14 update also stated that I’m Shmacked was moving the concert, which was being held at the same SF nightclub, to May 4.
The update promised all Tilt contributors for the Santa Clara event to receive complimentary access to the SF show and free I’m Shmacked merchandise if they emailed firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We do apologize for the inconvenience and will surely make it up to you with a great show and even better movie,” the update stated.
This update is little consolation to Santa Clara students, many of whom still want their money back.
“It’s really close to a scam, especially with the false advertising they have done and the fact that they threw out a venue and then say that it’s being cancelled,” Panetta said.
First year Saahil Saini, who bought his ticket during winter break with a few of his friends, said it was disheartening that the company built up so much excitement about the event in the beginning, but then shut off communication with students until they randomly sent the update.
“At this point, I can’t trust them anymore,” Saini said.
On the event page, I’m Shmacked also said they would come to Santa Clara to film videos leading up to the event.
Panetta said he heard rumors that I’m Shmacked would be collaborating with Greek life to film off-campus parties, but that his fraternity, Sigma Pi, never heard anything from the company.
At this point, Santa Clara students can’t request a refund.
The April 14 update said that all ticket sales are final, but that people can still sell their tickets because your name doesn’t have to match the name on the ticket.
The bottom of the update states “no refunds” in bold and italicized letters.
Before this announcement, senior Hope Wright said she requested a refund from I’m Shmacked on the Tilt event page three times, and even contacted Tilt’s customer service department, but got no help.
“I have no interest in going to the event any longer, but they won’t give me (a refund) and I’m just super frustrated,” Wright said. “I think it’s totally a scam because of the way they’ve been super unprofessional about the entire process.”
On Tuesday, April 19, I messaged Tilt myself requesting an interview about the public frustration with the event and about whether or not Tilt was planning on refunding students for their tickets.
A man identified as “Conor” from the Tilt Happiness Team gave no indication of plans to refund students.
“We’re not directly affiliated with I’m Shmacked so I can’t comment on their behalf, but I did some digging and see they are providing updates on the tilt page. It looks like the last one was a few days ago on (April 14),” the email stated. “I’m so sorry I can’t be more help, and I hope this gets resolved soon.”
I’m Shmacked did not respond to interview requests regarding the event.
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