NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Margarita bar crawls are advertised to take place in two Hampton Roads cities in the next two months, but will they deliver as promised?
Bar Crawl Unlimited, a company based in Tucson, Arizona, lists three upcoming events on its website. Two Margarita Crawls are scheduled, one in Downtown Norfolk and one in Virginia Beach, as well as a Mimosa Crawl in Virginia Beach.
On the calendar you will also find past events, such as a Margarita Bar Crawl held on August 31 in Detroit, Michigan. Tracy Oxley went with a few of her girlfriends and told 10 On Your Side she would like her money back.
“It was packed. But basically from the moment we started, nothing was as advertised,” Oxley said in a phone interview Monday.
Oxley bought tickets on Eventbrite for $20 each, and said she understood her ticket would include discounted drinks at all 5 venues for 6 hours and entry to an after party.
“We didn’t even know that lineup of the bars until we waited in an hour-long line to get into the first bar,” Oxley said. “Of the list of the five bars they gave us only one was actually participating, all others were not … we felt scammed.”
Facebook is filled with comments from people who went to events all over the country. Many had similar complaints and demanded refunds.
“We stood in on a huge line and paid for absolutely nothing,” Oxley said.
All tickets are non-refundable, according to the website.
Tickets are currently on sale for Virginia Beach’s planned event for November 2 with similar promises made on the page.
The site says early bird tickets are $20 and will rise to $35 “as the crawl gets closer and tickets sellout.” However it doesn’t give a date for “closer” and doesn’t even tell you where in the city the crawl will be.
“That’s a little weird, not gonna lie that is a little bit suspicious,” said Brandon Strickler, assistant manager at The Barrel Room on Granby Street in Norfolk. “You should at least have an idea on where you going when you buy a ticket.”
Strickler however said his bar was contacted by the organizers of Bar Crawl Unlimited to be included in their Margarita Crawl on October 12.
“Yeah, once as far as I’m aware,” Strickler said. “That’s also a little weird.”
Typically he said promoters of bar crawls are in continuous contact leading up to an event to help select drink specials and advise on crowd count.
“We have to know how much to order,” Strickler said. “If it doesn’t happen … not good looks basically. It’s not good. That’s a whole lot of wasted money, liquor costs a lot of money.”
On their Facebook page, Bar Crawl Unlimited responded rather quickly to the concerns raised by 10 On Your Side.
We do not post participating bars until 3-4 days prior to the event as they send us specials at that time. We reach out to bars in each area 20-30 days prior to the event. Out of 15,000+ tickets sold to events all over the USA we get 50-100 per month that are people who sadly do not enjoy the event.Bar Crawl Unlimited
The company went on to say that they send 1 of their 8 employees to all events, spending $7,500 a month in flights and $5,000 in hotels.
“We are not like other bar crawls and just have ‘random people’ hosting it for us. We put a lot of advertising and money into t shirts and koozies and cups etc. If people buy a ticket as well and end up not being able to make it we give them that ticket for a future event with us as well,” the message said.
Still the company has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau for failure to respond to 6 complaints filed against a business in the time it’s been operating.
The company told 10 On Your Side it has been operating for less than a year.
“Folks should certainly do their due diligence on any service or product they’re considering purchasing,” said Michael Kelly, Communications director for the Virginia Attorney General. He said so far no complaints have been filed for the company in the commonwealth.
“We are still going to honor the bar crawl if it happens or not,” Strickler said. “I just really hope it does, cause it’s really bad for all of us if people feel misled.”