The concert of the year may have all but ended on 25 February when Guns N’Roses completed their encore of favourites like Paradise City.
But while the concert is over, the real show has apparently just started. And it could well end up in the courts for adjudication.
Organisers LAMC Productions’ director Ross Knudson did apologise for the inconveniences caused (see stories here and here), its payments vendor Sandpiper Digital Payments Asia (Sandpiper) had laid the blame squarely on LAMC Productions in a statement which was released to the media after the concert (see story here).
On Friday 3 March, LAMC fired back with all guns blazing when it issued a statement to the media through its appointed public relations agency SPIN.
Full text of the statement to the media here:
“Various comments have been made and published about the issues surrounding the Guns N’ Roses Not in This Lifetime Tour concert (event) at the Changi Exhibition Centre on 25 February 2017.
In particular, there were complaints about the long queues at the entrance and for the digital payment services.
This was the first time LAMC Productions used the digital payment services. LAMC Productions was impressed with the pre-concert presentations by Sandpiper Digital Payments Asia (Sandpiper).
Sandpiper’s turnkey solutions for big events included provision of RFID wristbands, ticket scanning devices, top-up devices and food and beverage point of sales devices (POS). All these were part of a package comprising a complete IT infrastructure, customer interface and a digital payment system.
LAMC Productions engaged Sandpiper to provide these services for the event. LAMC Productions relied on Sandpiper’s experience and expertise.
Against a projection of the expected number of concert-goers for this venue, LAMC Productions took Sandpiper’s advice that 30 scanning devices, 25 top-up devices and 60 POS terminals were required.
LAMC Productions never had possession or control over these devices as they were handled and placed at the various locations at the venue by Sandpiper.
Sandpiper provided LAMC Productions with pre-event operator training. In fact, Sandpiper trained the ushers.
Sandpiper also provided and invoiced LAMC Productions for cashiers. Sandpiper told LAMC that these cashiers were experienced and trained.
The digital payment system was entirely Sandpiper’s. Except for ticket sales handled by SISTIC, Sandpiper was the “merchant” for all digital payments – pre-event and onsite during the event. This included collection of payments for food and beverage.
LAMC Productions placed a lot of trust in Sandpiper.
However, it is unfortunate that the following occurred:
1. There were inadequate scanners to manage the expected number of concert-goers
2. Many scanners ran out of charge with no back-ups provided by Sandpiper and caused delays
3. Several top-up devices were prone to rebooting during service and caused delays
4. Some of the cashiers provided by Sandpiper demonstrated inexperience which caused delays
5. One or more POS devices were not delivered on time to food and beverage outlets and there were also malfunctions which caused delays
6. Sandpiper did not provide an effective supporting team onsite during the event and had no contingency plans for the above issues
As a result, there were knock-on effects on the services provided to concert-goers for the event.
It is incorrect that only two top-up stations consisting of eight cashiers each were deployed. These two top-up stations were deployed in the indoor exhibition halls.
A further two top-up stations with four cashiers each were deployed outdoors. Hence, 24 of the 25 top-up devices recommended by Sandpiper were deployed.
Payment & Refunds
Apart from ticket sales, the digital payment services provided by Sandpiper meant that they engaged with the paying concert-goer to receive their monies, deduct payments for food and beverage, hold the concert-goers’ data and naturally, effect refunds.
During the concert, and in the pre-event top-ups, concert-goers made payments to Sandpiper using credit/debit cards and cash onsite. LAMC Productions is not certain if Sandpiper received payments through the PayPal gateway.
All monies from the pre-event top-ups and onsite during the concert were therefore received and held by Sandpiper, not LAMC. In particular, Sandpiper, as the “merchant” (much like a store or restaurant who transacts one’s credit card payments), had and has control of the concert-goers’ monies.
Sandpiper was to provide post-event reports and settlements in three to five business days after the event. As of close of business today, Friday 3 March, five business days have lapsed and LAMC has not received proper post-event reports and settlement data from Sandpiper.
Sandpiper has been to-ing and fro-ing with LAMC. LAMC had wanted Sandpiper to effect refunds of the concert-goers’ unused balances directly to their credit/debit card accounts.
LAMC wants these refunds to be effected by Sandpiper directly to the concert-goers without any further delay.
Sandpiper has transferred to LAMC the cash collected from onsite top-ups during the event in one lump sum. However, Sandpiper has not provided any concert-goer details or a breakdown of the lump sum received in cash. As a result, LAMC, at this stage, does not know who to return the monies to.
LAMC are baffled that Sandpiper do not want to process these cash refunds as well.
LAMC are now consulting their lawyers.”
Looks like an Estranged relationship, getting ready for a Civil War and perhaps concert-goers will just need a little Patience to get their unused credits back.
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