So we're very clear this review relates to the above named - Daniel Barnes who trades as ReptoParty who's business is registered at a London generic address but operates from the Kent Area (previously East Grinsted area). This was done recently in November. Here is a link to his facebook page so we are clear this is the company I am referring to as have many on the internet.
I am writing this review on behalf of two friends of mine who were let down by this man on the day/night before of their children's party. However, upon simply googling the name into a search engine, we discovered there have been many parents that have been let down. Their anger and frustrations have been hoovered up via social media. I suspect this is a full time job in itself.
Upon, further investigation it transpires that letting down children on the day of the party is common place and whilst we do accept he turns up for parties - there are many that he doesn't - leaving children understandably upset and extremely disappointed. Not to mention the parents left with a huge amount of stress to sort out.
So, to cut a long story short, my friend pays the full amount (alarm bells ringing yet - not a deposit but the full amount) of approximately £112.50 for a reptile party for her son's 7th birthday. Now the reason she paid the full amount is because he said she would be unable to receive the special offer if she didn't. Beware of the special offers. Maybe it's a special because there isn't a party!
It all seems reasonable - there's a well liked facebook page, pictures etc although funnily enough you can't 'review' on his facebook page. Any good business would want that function would they not? She had also not seen the many negative google reviews attached to his business (since deleted). Again, why would you not want your business listed on google?
Nor did she spot the disgruntled mums on mumsnet in July and August which you can read here and here. There are also reviews on The Sun's website - ALL negative. Some claiming that they didn't receive a refund and another here on Yell. And here's an example of people sharing on facebook. Please take the time to read all these comments. Edit - since writing this blog post he has become prolific at cancellations with a whole range of fantasy excuses and these people aren't getting a refund. If this has happened to you then please report to watchdog, police, trading standards. Here is a link to a West Wickham mums group where the sheer extent of it is quite staggering.
One mother has taken to warning every facebook group he joins and has even designed the picture below. You only have to google his name and/or reptoparty into facebook to see the extent of this. Edit - he has since made a public apology blaming stress/anxiety. He says he sometimes trebled booked parties - well that would be an understatement. I hope that he will now unblock all the people he blocked and refund them their money. He has removed all negative comments on his facebook page. Oh and he's also used my benefit of the doubt the business grew too fast. No it didn't. You always intended to do this - make a lot of money by booking lots of parties on the same day. How else are you able to cancel everyone on the day - very orgnaised that.
Here's another blogger (http://www.mum-friendly.co.uk/)who was able to cancel before her party was cancelled on the day. She found out (even after his sob story) that he had booked her child's party on the same day and time as another parent. Needless to say she had not confidence that he would turn up. And she still hasn't had a refund. Read about her story here.
Ultimately people paid for a service and they did not get that service. He has admitted this. They are now seeking a refund which many have not received. If you have had a party booked, cancelled on the day and not received a refund then there is now a support group on facebook. It's intention is to get your money back and report to various organisations along with the police. Click here to join. You will need to prove that you have been let down and not refunded.
My friend assumes it's a one off and messages via facebook to double check all is okay for her son's birthday. Yes, still okay for the Saturday. On the morning of the party she gets a message to say his partner has gone into early labour - a brief look on social media revels this isn't the case at all. In addition, he was merrily tweeting that night about football and the like. A whole load of if's and maybe's follow - not totally cancelling but putting the seed of doubt and best you look around for someone else in the mind. Clever in itself - not a 100% cancel just a do you really want to risk it and putting the ball in the customers court and making them cancel rather than the other way around. Then his 'sister' has taken over the facebook page as now he's at the hospital - seriously this story could give Walter Mitty a run for his money.
They can do the afternoon. She then phones all the guests to come at 3pm rather than 11 am. Due to her insistence to get her money back it is refunded but not before she is blocked on twitter, facebook and of course no phone call. Hardly the actions of an innocent man?
Now why do this? Well, I have several theories which are, of course, just my opinions but feel free to add some. Perhaps the business grew too fast and couldn't cope with demand? Perhaps he wakes up in the morning and thinks nah can't be arsed to go further a field.
If people are prepared to give you £112 months before the so called party and you don't refund - well what would you call that? Or if you can't get away with not refunding the 'special offer' (which is too cheap if you think of travelling expenses etc it's not worth his while) and you book 20 parties on one day you have no intention of turning up to - that's a lot of money to sit on. Repeat this over and over and you've got some serious cash flow going on.
As he does turn up to parties and people are naturally, very happy with him you can do this for quite a long time. Do you want to take the risk that you're the no show for your child's party. It is my view, based on the whole host of internet comments, that these cancellations are pre meditated. There are simply just too many of them.
A lot of effort and planning goes into a child's party - the decorations, the invites, the cake, the food, chasing rsvp's. Do you really need the extra hassle of the entertainer not turning up?! But more importantly what reasonable person would want to let down 30 plus children waiting eagerly for reptiles to come a visiting? Only one man can answer that one.
|The Birthday Boy's rather wonderful cake that his mother made and who managed to make sure the party went ahead.|
Until next time - which will be quick after my mini break from blogging
This review is an honest and true account - as my readers have come to expect of all products and services reviewed on this blog - of what has happened to 2 friends of mine and is backed up with evidence readily available following the enclosed links and searching on google