A group of Harry Potter fanatics who thought they were attending the ultimate wizard-themed party ended up experiencing a spectacular magic trick.
That trick, unfortunately, was learning the event that cost $50 was actually what many attendees have called a "more than misleading" and "shockingly bad" scam.
Organized by the LOL Event Group in Montreal, Canada, the Nov. 15 party was originally advertised as an "adult-only" festival for fans of the wizarding world. Those purchasing tickets were promised a laundry list of Harry Potter-centric amenities, including "Boozy Butterbeer" and other magical cocktails, as well as "Cauldron Cakes" and plenty of other creatively named snacks.
The event was also set to include Harry Potter trivia, a live band, photo ops with look-alikes and even "the opportunity to visit [a] cobblestone alley to pick your wand."
But when the estimated 600 attendees arrived at Rialto Theatre for the event, they were met with a shockingly different experience. According to VICE, almost none of the activities, treats or decorations promised in descriptions of the event were present that night.
Instead of "Cauldron Cakes" and "Luna Love's Pudding," guests received aluminum trays of what many described as lukewarm, supermarket-bought appetizers.
The Potter-inspired cocktails were also notably absent, with attendees being served regular drinks — which reportedly cost as much as $9— instead. And the so-called "magic wands"? They were actually chopsticks, which had been thrown onto a table next to a whiteboard sign reading "Baguette Magique" (French for "magic wand").
"It was just so shockingly bad," one attendee, Georgiana Elias, told the CBC. "I wouldn't even make an activity like this for children."
Elias went on to call the event "our own little Fyre Festival," referencing the 2017 "luxury" music festival that originally went viral after an attendee posted a photo of their hilariously scarce dinner. That festival, with tickets costing between $450 and $12,000, was ultimately canceled after several complaints, artist dropouts and logistical issues.
Thankfully, no one at the Harry Potter event shelled out that much money, but many have demanded refunds. Several guests have since created a Facebook group — which has more than 300 members — dedicated to sharing complaints about the party and searching for ways to get their money back.
The group, called "Cheated by LOL Event Group," has yet to receive refunds from the company; however, many have shared their attempts to do so.
"Our team put a lot into the planning and execution of this event, and we are deeply discouraged to hear this kind of feedback [...] As noted on our event page, our refund policy does not allow refunds after 7 days before the event. Because your refund request does not fall within this policy, we will not be able to honor your request," the company sent one angry attendee in a response.
LOL Event Group, for their part, has denied that the party was ever meant to be explicitly Harry Potter-themed. Several attendees have refuted that claim, though, as event descriptions included libations based on characters' names, photos of decorations that included the banners of all four Hogwarts houses and images featuring a replica of Platform 9 3/4, the fictional train platform where Hogwarts students begin their school year.
"It felt like a total scam," Elias told the CBC.