Lapland New Forest Scam. How to get money back...



  • MammaBling
    MammaBling Forumite Posts: 14 Forumite
    I'm so sorry Alison, but I wouldn't waste further money on petrol! Words cannot describe how poor this 'event' is, and I just hope that enough people complain to official authorities (the council, trading standards, evening echo?) to make others aware and to get this closed down.

    It's not fair on those who are spending hard earned money on this rubbish, and it's ruining kids dreams. The only WOW factor about this place is how bad it is.

    We've reported it to the Echo (PLEASE others do the same - there's power in numbers), and we're going to try hard to get our money back. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please share. I would suggest you speak to your Credit Card company immediately to see if there's anything they can do to revoke the payment (is that possible) or compensate you? Not sure what else you/we can do...

    Good Luck.
  • Chatterbox_3
    Chatterbox_3 Forumite Posts: 68 Forumite
    My daughter, her husband and the two girls went today and it sounds like they were well RIPPED OFF. I feel very sorry for them as they paid £100 entry for what sounded like a load of tat. Not only the expensive entry fee but even more to pay inside with the extortionate prices for food and photographs (they weren't allowing customers to take their own pictures of their kids with santa). There were long queues and little shelter. No ice rink open and the play area was closed! The exhibits didn't live up to the hype and could have been put together by any old Joe. My daughter couldn't get through to complain and ask for a refund as the lines have been engaged all day. Hopefully she will get a refund via her credit card.:mad: I've asked Meridian News to get down there and get customer comments NOW and not to wait while 'televised' day!

    Once NOT part with your hard earned cash...go to a lovely garden centre display instead. :xmassmile
    What if there IS no PMS and this is just my personality :confused:
  • tabs1962
    tabs1962 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    alison6692 wrote: »

    I really fancy taking our little one to this
    But £30 per person is quite steep. Just wondering if anyone has seen anywhere we can find the tickets cheaper?

    TIA xxx

    Alison x

    Alison. Please don't waste any money on this event! I went to lapland New Forest today with my husband and six year old. The worst value for money £90 I have ever spent. DON.T GO!!! unless you want the following - 2 hour wait for father xmas (we gave up after an hour), the "bustling" market was a few tatty stalls, food was overpriced at £10 for a few greasy chips and a couple of tasteless hot dogs), the skating rink was not working (at least this saved us £5 each in skate hire) and the only entertainment besides a couple of basic small children activities was at the fair at additional cost. (£1.20 to £2.50 a ride)
  • libbifee
    libbifee Forumite Posts: 4 Newbie
    I'm so glad me and my family weren't the only ones who were incredibly disappointed with the New Forest Lapland. And like nigel1969, I don't usually post on forums, but i'm so annoyed with my experience, i have to let everyone know what a waste of money it is!
    We had paid £200 for our day out today. Total Ripoff!! :mad:I felt completely let down by the whole thing, the website looked so promising! I couldn't stop appologizing to my family for taking them there.

    It took us over an hour to actually get into the place. The entrance part with the snow covered trees was quite nice, but what we thought was going to be a Nativity Scene was just some sand in a field and a painted backdrop. Not actually a nativity scene at all.
    The queues for seeing Santa were just ridiculous so we didnt even bother.
    The "Real Log Cabins" were just some shabby sheds from B&Q, and the "Seasonal Food" was some burger vans selling extremely overpriced slop! £5 for a pork and stuffing baguette, which looked more like Tuna Mayonaise.
    I'm a real lover of animals, so when I heard they were going to have Husky dogs there and reindeer, I was really looking forward to it. But the Huskys worried me a bit, they looked very underweight. I understand they're athletes, not pets, but it didn't seem right to me.

    There was actually NOTHING to do here. They say on the website that you need about 4-6 hours to look around... Somehow I can't see how that would work out as after an hour we were ready to leave!

    I'm really hoping there's some way we can get a refund, because £200, especially this time of year, is a lot of money!!
  • alison6692
    alison6692 Forumite Posts: 2,533 Forumite
    Uh Oh - Right my plan is to call the place tomorrow and see what they have to say about all these complaints. It has sold out for all the weekends leading up to Christmas - Aww I am so dissapointed as it looked so lovely.

    Thanks for all the responses x Nice to see some new MSE'rs.. ha ha! You will become addicted to this site.I love it.
    :heart2:Mum to my little Daisy 3 and Archie 1.:heart2:
  • cridders_2
    cridders_2 Forumite Posts: 13 Forumite
    will be interested to see what media coverage this rip off attraction gets and hopefully gets shut down so other parents dont waste there hard earned cash.I took my daughter who is six and watched as the belief and magic of christmas dissapear from her face within half an hour she was crying and asking to go home,as a parent this was heartbreaking. i can only warn others DONT GO if you have tickets throw them in the bin its not even worth the petrol to get there
  • Belfast-Child_2
    Belfast-Child_2 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    We have just returned from this attraction about 1 hour ago, and all the comments made about it yesterday are correct. This was disorganised chaos with hardly any staff available to help or direct us to the event, and the few elves around were looking very unhappy and stood together in groups talking about the place. We queued for 2 hours in the freezing cold for 2 minutes with Santa, by which time many people had given up and left. After that we had to queue in a shop to get our gift from Santa! Staff were grumbling, the site was a mess and no one seemed to be cleaning up the left food and drinks which were lying around for the full 2 hours we queued for Santa. Even in the ladies in the food area, we could not use the toilets as they were full to the seat, and my 6 yr old daughter was disgusted.
    There were lots of health and safety issues, and we took photos of the area when you first arrive where you view the huskies. The children have to climb over muddy tyres (which were not solid!) and black cables for the lights – this definitely breaches health and safety rules. The nativity scene was a picture on a painted wall which was viewed from a distance and which had everyone we met, laughing.
    The entire day was a joke, and I know everyone else thought so. The crowds amused themselves as there were hardly any staff and they looked stressed out. One man came up and down the queues saying that the staff had just found out they would not get paid until 24 Dec, and they weren’t being allowed breaks, so planned to walk out at close of play today, so we dont’ even know if it will open tomorrow.
  • cridders_2
    cridders_2 Forumite Posts: 13 Forumite
    as i am so disgusted with our visit i tried to phone snow buisness to see if they had actuallybeen involved in anyway,my guess is probally not!unfortunatly there was no reply i will try again tomorrow i am sure they will be interested to here about this so called magical experence.ive just plucked up the courage to explain to my daughter that there are some bad people around who just try to get you to give them lots of money and pretend !i think ive redemed myself as a parent and have told her that lapland is truly a magical place.ive told her that i have spoken to father christmas and he has said that there will be no presents for those naughty people,i only hope that after convincing her that he does exist she can wipe this sad memory out of her mind.i have spoken to my bank today but have to wait 30 days to see if i can get any money back,judging by todays visitors i expect they will be well gone by then.heres hopping not COME ON EVERYONE LETS STICK TOGEATHER AND GET SOME JUSTICE ! !

    cridders wife.
  • MammaBling
    MammaBling Forumite Posts: 14 Forumite
    Below is a copy of what we've just sent to a national paper, Watchdog and The Evening Echo. We've also telephoned 2CR to ask them to suspend the advertising for this mockery. Tomorrow we intend to speak with the Council (who on earth granted a licence for this), Trading Standards, the local Tourist Office (the experience is also being offered by Travel Agents as a 'packagae' and people are forking out for travel and accomodation on top of the entry fee), and we'll even speak to the local MP - ANYTHING to get some support and awareness. This scam is not fair to the children and their families. I IMPLORE people to do the same. The more we speak up the more likely something can be done. Here it is:

    I write in the hope that you can help to investigate and ultimately help stop a most cruel seasonal scam.

    Particularly cruel in the current economic climate, where everyone is feeling the pinch, but even more so because it's a scam that preys on children and shatters their hopes and dreams.

    I'm referring to 'Lapland New Forest' at Matchams (nr Ringwood in Dorset), billing themselves as 'the seasonal themed event to see in the South East of England'. The website and advertising looks great. A winter wonderland brought to the UK, where those of us who can't afford the real Lapland get to experience the next best thing... From snow covered authentic log cabins, to sled dog running, from ginger-bread making to seasonal food, a bustling Xmas market, a fantastic outdoor ice-rink, a tunnel of light and the North Pole Post Office. Oh, and did I mention the magic dust for the envelopes to help make the childrens' dreams come true, and the welcoming elves who escort you on your journey... Could it get any better? No we thought. And like so many other families, stretched ourselves to the whopping £25 per head (5 of us, so total of £125). But not bad, conisdering this 'amazing frozen world of Lapland Village' was only an hour and a half drive from here, and was infinately more affordable than the real thing. Besides, from the description and photographs, and the fact that 'the attention to detail will WOW you' it sounded almost as good, especially as they recommend we should allow a good 4-6 hours to take it all in!

    How wrong could we be? And where do we start? OK, so having looked at the website again, we now notice the disclaimers relating to the photography - that it's for illustrative purposes only (although it's not illustrating anything remotely resembling what we saw), however, it does also state that 'they are certain the live show will far exceed these representations'.

    So, to recall, we arrived at Matchams at just gone mid-day, parked and joined the huge queue that stretched away from the entrance. Alarm bells immediately started ringing...we had understood there were only a limited number of tickets issued each day. It was then we noticed all the caravans and trailers - was this a travelling Lapland? After a 40 minute wait, we entered through a tree lined path where the firs were covered in fake snow - not a bad start. The path led to the Nativity Scene, where any hopes for a truly magical Lapland experience were immediately quashed. There, behind a five-bar gate, set back in a sandy pit, was a painted board, propped up by some kind of scaffolding. And that was it. Our eyes darted round the field hoping to find more - but to no avail. All the parents looked at each other frantically. Were we missing something or, as people started to point out, was this just the start of something terribly tatty, over-sold, totally mis-represented and utterly disappointing?

    As we continued along the path we entered the village. On one side 2 chained reindeer (sleeping) behind a large fence and on the other, a group of seemingly underweight chained huskies also behind heavy fencing. We walked a little further and spotted several pens containing geese, a pig and some donkeys. We then saw the sheds, oops I mean log cabins - which were nothing more than cheap sheds/cabins from the likes of B&Q - with nothing in them! The ginger-bread making shed had run out of ginger-bread (1 hour after opening on the second day of the event).

    Ah, the spectacular tunnel of lights - nothing more than a 50ft string of fairly lights strung between the fir trees covering the walkway - and they weren't even on!

    The outdoor ice rink? Not actually really outdoors or even in the village. It was situated in the adjacent fair-ground, and was under-cover. And to top that off, it wasn't even working!

    What next? How about the friendly elves that meet and greet and escort you on the magical journey. Well, we weren't met, or greeted, but we did see between 4-6 'elves' sporting ill fitting and ill made costumes (2 part set - top and trousers, no hat or shoes or similar). They were being worn by guys probably aged between 18-24, who were more accustomed to manning the waltzer that they were asking small children what they wanted for Xmas or whether they had written Santa a letter. We didn't see a single 'elf' interact with a single child. And frankly, it was quite a relief.

    Then there's the Seasonal Fodder. Of course, there's nothing more seasonal or festive than a greasy undercooked burger. To be fair, I think we did spot a mulled wine hut, nestling between 8-10 fairground fast-food counters on wheels. I heard lots of people complaining about the price of the food, so we gave it a miss (that, and the fact that as I'm pregnant, Listeria is high on my list of things to avoid).

    And what of Santa? As we joined the queue we were advised there would be between a 1.5 to 2hour wait. Were they kidding? Again, they made a point of stressing on their advertising that there were a limited number of tickets for each day. But in reality it was heaving and I can't see there was any restriction - the more the merrier...or the more the richer the organisers! What was particularly disgusting though was the fact that, unless you were prepared to pay £10 to have a photograph with Santa, we were advised our children were not allowed to approach Santa but could simply wave from a distance as we passed through the grotto. You were not allowed to take photos yourself, and were given a token to exchange in one of the two gift huts. As was now expected, you take your pick from the lavish plastic tat on offer. We didn't bother, and left without seeing Santa.

    Snow was limited. It certainly wasn't anything like the scenes from Narnia that the advertising had inferred. The only snow was on the trees, and not a drop under-foot. Good job the kids wore their snow boots, or they'd never have made it across the authentic tarmac!!

    As for the enternainment...there simply wasn't any. Not unless you wanted to pop next door to the fair-ground where the entertainment was an additional £1.50-£2.50 a go.

    Don't even get me started on the 'bustling Xmas Market'.

    All in all, it took us no more than 20 minutes to take in the 'Winter Wonderland' and half of that was spent queing. It was the most hideous, blatant rip-off I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing. My children were gutted and completely bewildered. I have never seen so many unhappy children or parents, and as we left the event we spoke to numerous people who felt exactly the same way.

    You will probably sense a certain flippancy in my tone, and I don't mean to make light of this situation because we feel nothing but disappointment, anger and complete contempt - but it's the only way I can express these feelings without being abusive.

    I would implore you to investigate this further. It should not be allowed to continue, and those responsible should be held to account. Unfortunately, unless people act fast, I have a nasty suspicion that the whole event is an extension of the fairground (and thus run by the same - i.e. travellers?) and will move-on without a trace when they've well and truly cleaned up (and I'm not talking about the mess). Please, please expose this for what it is. Thousands have people will be stretching themselves to take their children to this event and it's not fair. I've read on the internet about many families who have have travelled great distances and have forked out on hotels - spending between £300-£600 on this event, and are utterly dismayed. In fact, it quite literally makes me cry to think of those families who would have made many sacrifices or saved hard to take their children to this event, and it will no doubt be the only one they can afford this year. We're fortunate, we can weather the loss, and we'll take our children somewhere else to compensate, but there are many others who can't. And what about the children whose expectations and dreams are jsimply shattered. Take a look at the these forum sites, where many other angry parents have voiced their concerns in an effort to spare others the expense and disappointment:

    For your ease of reference, here's the official website address too:

    If there is anything further we can provide you with or help you with, please do not hesitate to get in contact.
  • roversforever
    roversforever Forumite Posts: 6 Forumite
    Hi from a newbie on this forum.

    We visited this place yesterday, and all I can say is that every word previous members have left is absolutely true. The advertisement is a work of pure fiction, the reality is gruesome beyond words.

    This is not just slightly disappointing, it is an utter rip off. I agree that anyone with tickets should not even bother travelling to the place - at least save the cost of the petrol.

    I have emailed the company last night telling them how poor I thought the place was. I have requested a refund and I await their reply. I will let you guys know what I get back (if anything). I hope we can all share our efforts in this regard, so that we can pool our resources to obtain refunds.

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