Formula E race: Vancouver fans still waiting for refunds

Electric car racing is a growing sport with a huge international fan base that includes thousands of people who bought tickets to a race that was supposed to take place in Vancouver over Canada Day weekend.

“I was excited. I’m a car racing fanatic,” said Keith Paterson, who spent more than $500 on a couple of weekend passes.

In all, 33,000 tickets were sold for the event before the race was canceled in early April after the city of Vancouver abruptly terminated its agreement with event organizer One Stop Strategy Group.

According to internal city emails seen by CTV News, the OSS routinely missed planning deadlines and failed to comply with standard requests the city makes to major event organizers.

The emails say OSS failed to provide proof of insurance, failed to demonstrate that it had agreements in place with private owners at the race site, and failed to provide engineer-approved plans for temporary buildings and grandstands in a timely manner.

“OSS has routinely submitted incomplete submissions that lack information previously requested by city staff,” reads one of the emails.

With little planning completed and less than three months before the event, on April 5, the city’s legal department informed the OSS that it was terminating the agreement to host the race in Vancouver.

“We had actually heard about it on the news. There was no email directly from OSS Group telling us it was postponed,” said Amy, who received a ticket and asked to be identified by name only.

OSS eventually told ticket holders that the Vancouver race would take place in 2023 and tickets for the 2022 event would be honored for the new date.

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Despite calls for a postponement by OSS, when Formula E’s international race schedule was released in June, it did not include a stop in Vancouver.

An attorney who has been contacted by multiple ticket holders about the possibility of a lawsuit does not believe a future event will take place.

“Formula E says that it has terminated its contractual obligations to One Stop Strategy Group,” said Richard Chang of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers.

Even if the event takes place in the future, under the BC Consumer Protection Law, the ticket holder will decide if they want a refund or tickets for the rescheduled event.

“I lost confidence pretty quickly and immediately said I don’t want to reschedule, I want a refund,” said Paterson, who has tried unsuccessfully to get his money back.

Chang said ticket holders who have been in contact with his company have also failed to get refunds and fear the company may not be able to host a Formula E race in Vancouver next year.

“People who have contacted us have doubts. That’s why there is an investigation from us into the merits of filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of these people,” Chang said.

CTV News was unable to reach OSS for comment on the status of refunds or possible future race dates.

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