Van Gogh ‘immersive experience’ coming to Seattle has BBB urging consumers to be aware

SEATTLE — You might have seen the ads on social media, showing “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is coming to Seattle.

But some customers are discovering the tickets they bought are not what they expected. Other ticket-buyers are calling the ads “misleading.”

It has the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Great West + Pacific urging consumers to look closely at what they’re buying.

“If not red flags, they are certainly question marks,” said Ben Spralding, with BBB Great West + Pacific.

According to FeverUp — the company running the event — the experience arrives in Seattle in October.

“Taking Seattle by storm and tickets are selling out fast!” the company announced on its Instagram page, under the handle @secretseattle_smn.

“I was super stoked because Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, and I’ve been to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam twice,” said Denis Nguyen, who lives in Seattle.

“I bought eight tickets — bought it for our entire friend group,” Nguyen said.

But he thought he was buying tickets for a different event, called “Immersive Van Gogh” — note the word “immersive” comes before the artist’s name instead of after.

The “Immersive Van Gogh” event’s popularity skyrocketed after a scene in the Netflix show, “Emily in Paris,” and it’s now making its way to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Dallas, Phoenix, Charlotte, Houston and Las Vegas.

Seattle is not on the list of locations for this year.

It has the BBB warning consumers to be aware of what they’re buying.

Spralding said shoppers may be taking on more risk buying an event at a “secret location.”

“It certainly sounds intriguing, and that’s part of the appeal. But when you’re a consumer, mystery is not always a great thing,” he said.

Plus, Fever’s Seattle FAQ page tells you there are no refunds.

“I had to dig through it to find that after I saw there was no location listed. I was like, ‘Wait a minute.’ Because it’s a lot of money,” said Tari Eastman, who decided to hold off on buying tickets.

Dozens of unhappy consumers have left frustrated reviews on the BBB website. The Chicago BBB page for Fever gives the company an “F” rating.

Fever did not respond to KIRO 7′s request for comment on Thursday, but it did respond to some of the complaints on the BBB page. On March 8, it stated, in part, “It was always clear that the exhibition we were promoting was Exhibition Hub’s Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience… it first premiered in a cathedral in Naples, Italy, in November of 2018. Since then, this experience has toured Brussels, Beijing and Tel Aviv.”

Nguyen said after he saw a report from CBS2 in New York City also warning of the two different events, he did some research, compared YouTube videos, read TripAdvisor reviews of Fever’s Van Gogh event in Brussels and decided the Seattle event is not for him.

“I felt really embarrassed because I usually do a lot more due diligence than this,” Nguyen said.

He’s now trying to get his $400 back.

“It’s a free market. People can make competing events. It just really sucks they titled it with almost the exact same words as the one that’s getting rave reviews, and it’s not executing the same as the original. So to me, it feels really misleading,” he said.

The BBB points out the Seattle event could end up being a fun event as advertised but urges consumers to do research and understand you are taking on a certain amount of risk by booking an event seven months out with a company that has no refund policy or location announced.

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