A tyrannosaurus wreck! Dinosaur World Expo row goes global
- Australia's Northern Territory Consumer Affairs has warned locals against buying tickets for the Dino Festival.
- Organiser David Huni is now under investigation by the Australian consumer body.
- The commission says Huni should provide refunds to those who've bought tickets.
What started out as a random conversation on air by CapeTalk listeners has turned into a global investigation into the organisers of the controversial Dinosaur World Expo. The story of the alleged scam has gone viral and raised the alarm in Australia, where the founder of the event, David Huni, is being investigated by the Australian Fair Trade Commission.
The Cape Town leg of the exhibition was meant to take place between 1 and 9 July but was postponed after the City of Cape Town confirmed the organisers did not have a valid permit. Questions were asked on-air about the legitimacy of the event after parents, who had purchased tickets, had not received them and the venue had not been confirmed.
A similar situation is playing out in Darwin, Australia, where the Darwin Dinosaur Festival, also owned by Huni, was scheduled to take place at the end of July. The Northern Territory Consumer Affairs has warned locals that the company behind the event was still selling tickets with no official venue and is recommending refunds be sought now.
Lester Kiewit spoke to Australia Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Sandy Otto, about the Dino World saga.
He [Huni] is not responding to us or the media. He has officially pulled his application from a show he was doing here [in Darwin]. There were talks he was doing another event at our showgrounds and he has never contacted them. In my view, he is being misleading and deceptive and I'm warning all the people here not to buy tickets for the Dino Festival.Sandy Otto, Australia Consumer Affairs Commissioner
After the red flags were raised on-air, the Cape Town expo has been postponed to September. The bad press has led parents to demand refunds, which have been ignored.
It seems this could be a modus operandi used by the organisers. The terms and conditions on the tickets to the Australia event states that the organisers take no responsibility if the show is cancelled. That potentially means no refunds for those who bought tickets in Australia.
Otto said a "no refund" blanket clause was not allowed in Australia.
He [Huni] said he would provide refunds if he cancelled the show. He certainly has not provided refunds to anyone in New South Wales. So his terms and conditions are very misleading and he is not abiding by the Australian consumer law.Sandy Otto, Australia Consumer Affairs Commissioner
With shows planned in South Africa, Australia, United States and India, there are concerns that thousands of potential consumers could be swindled out of their money. But Otto believes with the power of the internet and social media, it will be a lot more difficult for Huni and his team to pull off his scheme.
The world is totally connected. You only have to do a simple google search to find a warning. Mr Huni is trying to prey on parents with small kids. His modus operandi is to lure parents to spend their money so their kids can be happy. Its a very sad to see people spending money and the shows are not going ahead.Sandy Otto, Australia Consumer Affairs Commissioner
Otto said criminal charges against Huni would not be ruled out, however investigations are continuing.
CapeTalk has attempted to contact David Huni for an interview on air, but he has declined.
Scroll up for the interview.
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