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



  • demie
    demie Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    After seeing yesterdays comments we phoned a number this morning to get a refund even though we had not at this point gone. The lady was very prepared on giving out the PO BOX information to write to, to try and get a refund (she had obviously had alot of phone calls by then!) we decided to still go and see as my nephew who is 4 wanted to go.
    We went. And what can i say.... it took no time at all to walk round. Some children were in tears. I spoke to one family who came all the way from Brighton! They were a family of 5 who paid 150 pounds like most families have done. The huskies were tied up and you could barely see the reindeer. Queing for Father Xmas was 2 hour wait and the huts where so small for the children to do small activities. An extension to the "Crapland" was a fair, which was not included in the ticket price. All in all an expensive day out for all the family.
  • LesleyAnn_2
    LesleyAnn_2 Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    I am on facebook but how do you get to join the groups and see the photos of this scam?
  • alison6692
    alison6692 Forumite Posts: 2,533 Forumite
    Just go to the group - Search "Lapland New Forest" and then click to join - The link for this will be in a box on the right of the page.


    Alison x
    :heart2:Mum to my little Daisy 3 and Archie 1.:heart2:
  • JH808
    JH808 Forumite Posts: 11 Forumite
    :( What a mess!:mad:

    Below is the email I sent this morning to local TV / newspapers / East Dorset Council / BBC Watchdog etc. I have also emailed 'Protx - secure online payment gateway' who handled the payments, asking for advise and tomorrow will contact my credit card co. A story is being prepared by Sarah-Jane Bungay at BBC South Today, for tomorrow evenings show and I understand some newspapers are running it. Sad thing is these people will just scarper without trace.

    I write to complain about the organisation running 'Lapland, New Forest' at Matchams, Dorset. Families have paid a lot of money for this experience. Having visited the site yesterday, it has, in my opinion, basically been set-up by unscrupulous individuals, to extract money from people.

    At £30 per person I had high hopes of a quality event. A well-managed magical adventure with great attention to detail and WOW! factor. The advert says "where dreams really do come true" and describes an elf who will lead you to Father Christmas, "a elven play area". There was none of this. The fake snow effect was nice but that was the highlight.

    This is ripping-off families at a financially difficult time. It is exploiting parents desire to offer their children a magical Christmastime experience but worse of all it is exploiting the children. There are also safety issues and having experienced the place, I have concerns over the security of the credit card I used to pay online with.
    • No crowd management, resulting in a near-crush in the gift collection area.
    • Powerful husky dogs being walked through the crowds and young children being encouraged to get close and pet them.
    • 2-3 hour (outdoor in the rain) queue to visit Fathers Christmas' cabin. Had so many people not been dropping out and going home (as we did), it would have been 4+ hours. With 5 children with us aged from 18 months to 8 years this is totally unacceptable.
    • Without paying exta for ice-staking and the funfair, nothing much else to do except view a few penned animals and wait in line for Santa. The website suggests a 4-6 hour visit, however, (excluding queueing time for Santa) you would be hard-pushed to fill even an hour.
    • Nowhere suitable to shelter from the elements and dry off / warm-up the children.
    • A crush in the gift collection area that left the children over-whelmed.
    • Childrens gifts that are absolutely disgraceful, plastic tat. A balancing game that had 3 snapped components, so was unusable. A dolls house that was infact only the front of a house and the 'door bell feature' did not work.
    • Rip-off unpalatable catering. £5.00 for a 2 very small plastic cups of mulled wine - which were thrown away, as so unpleasant.
    • The nativity scene was a joke. A painted board some couple hundred yards away in a car park area.
    • Staff that had no idea what was going on. No-one in charge. No-one managing this mess. Children crying, upset adults. Everyone around us was complaining. Some were asking to see the person in charge but were being fobbed-off and advised to contact the website!
    I feel bad for myself at being ripped-off and wasting so much of my familes hard-earned money but mostly I am very sad for the children. They went home not having visited Santa, upset at the queueing and jostling, seriously disappointed, cold, wet and emotional. My children just wanted to see Santa in his grotto and I just wanted to offer them a magical experience. We got neither. For this my family paid £210 !!!

    I have this morning emailed their address but I do not expect a reply, let alone an apology or financial recompense. These people will pack up their funfair and caravans on Christmas Eve, never to be seen again.

    I will also be contacting Trading Standards, local MPs, and the council dept who issued the license.
  • mrcow
    mrcow Forumite Posts: 15,170
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I have to say that these posts are reminisent of the Lapland UK threads that we had last year (although these seem even worse .......if that was actually possible?)

    Just wanted to bump this thread and wish everyone the best of luck with pursuing their refunds. I've got a bad feeling that you're not going to see your money again, but seriously, fingers crossed.

    And if anyone else is considering paying an extortionate amount of money for this type of experience in the future, please reconsider. Many garden centres have perfectly adequate displays for free.

    The organisers should be completely ashamed of themselves.
    "One day I realised that when you are lying in your grave, it's no good saying, "I was too shy, too frightened."
    Because by then you've blown your chances. That's it."
  • John-Boy_9
    John-Boy_9 Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    We went yesterday (Saturday), got there at about 1.00pm. We were out of there by 3.30, wet cold and depressed.
    My Grand-daughter was pleased by her Shreck the 3rd stuffed toy, and her antlers made by the only person working hard in those conditions, the balloon guy. She only was released from hospital on Monday after being in all weekend and it all worried us. Sweet innocence:A
    The rest of the party were not happy bunnies. We had travelled from Derby for the weekend and have just got back.
    What Xmas market?
    What Seasonal food?
    What light tunnel?
    What reindeer, one was almost a unicorn with one horn?
    What Nativity scene? That was enough to cancel the Christmas spirit.
    Which was £2.50 a cup "full"
    It must have been grim today unless they invested some of yesterday's vast profit in a bit of scaffolding and some taupolines

    I always wondered what Fairground folk did in the winter.

    We look forward to some form of redress tomorrow, but I am not holding my breath.
  • joe73_2
    joe73_2 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    I am writing this email as I have just returned from Lapland New Forest at Matchams Ringwood with my family, having paid £150.
    All of us and everyone I spoke to was bitterly disappointed and annoyed that a company none as Lapland New forest LTD could charge this extortionate amount for what can only be described as a complete misrepresentation leaving my children heart broken and a childhood dream shattered. I am only great full they are able to understand things are not always as they seem, I know others with special needs are not able to comprehend this.

    The advertisement lends you to believe that this is a "snow covered Lapland village" with "Hollywood special affects" a "bustling Christmas market" with an ice rink. The website is totally misleading, including photographs which bear no relation to the reality which awaits you on entry.

    The reality was:
    The ice rink was not working and outside the main area ,so can be accessed without purchasing a ticket.
    The fake snow was sprayed only over fir trees and not on the ground, so when walking through this so called "snow covered Lapland village" I was actually walking over tarmac
    The nativity scene was a painting on plywood in the distance across a mud flat,
    The "magical tunnel of light consisted of festoon lighting with gls lamps in it, above the trees was one strip of fairy lights but was anything but magical as described.
    There was a 3 hr cue to see Santa, you then got a ticket which you then had to cue again to get a present .
    The market consisted of 4 stalls, 1 jewellery 1 sweets 1 stall selling wrapping paper, the other one closed, all of which again accessible without getting a ticket,
    Inside the huts which had gingerbread men to ice had run out ,so shut, other huts hardly had anything in them,
    Not even sure where sanats helpers where
    The average time you would be able to spend there if you chose not to wait 3 hrs to see santa would have been an hour.
    Once entered you had to pay for everything else.

    When I asked to speak to manager a man called Henry chose to spoke to me only when I approached people entering the park and told them to reconsider entering if they had not already purchased a ticket.After 2 minutes of his time his phone rung and he left. he told me to email him via the website after saying the lights had blown and a Santa had been taken ill.

    I spoke to some people who had spent £600 to come and visit they had hired a minibus.

    Many people have chosen to take their children to this "magical place" as they cannot afford to go the real Lapland, at a cost of £25 - £30 a ticket. an average family of 4 will have to pay over £100 In this .present economic climate this is a vast sum of money that people would have had to consider wisely before spending the money.I have paid the equivalent of this spending a whole day at a theme park, I would have been disappointed to pay even £5 entry charge.

    As we are all aware Christmas is a magical time for children and parents take great joy in providing opportunities for their children to experience Christmas .
    I have no doubt this has caused damage to the local area, brought tears to the eyes of parents and children and filled the pockets of this ltd company who clearly have no values.

    By writing this email/letter I seek only to inform others of this blatant disregard for false advertising and to prevent anyone from purchasing a ticket so no more money finds it way to these fraudsters.

  • Tracy144
    Tracy144 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Completely agree with all comments.

    Thought this was going to be a magical Christmas treat for my children but this was far from the truth. We were so dissappointed the minute we arrived- there were so many people and we had to queue for 40 minutes to get in. IT WAS NOT WORTH THE WAIT.

    Everything you have all written is true, it was so tacky, it was nothing like the Lapland experience I was expecting after looking at the website. Our round trip was approx 250 miles to attend this event and it was a complete waste of money and time. My kids have been cheated and Christmas has really been cheapened for them. I've spent my time apologising to my family.

    It's sad to read so many others had the same experience. Let's hope this doesn't continue and money is refunded.
    ISOBEL_HOLLIS Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    Visited 'Crapland' yesterday after a 3 hour drive from Hereford. HOW DISAPPOINTING!!! It cost us £125 for all 5 of us to go plus expenses for us all to stay in a hotel for a night, plus the fuel to get doen there!! RIP OFF CITY BY TRAVELLERS. HOW DO WE GO ABOUT GETTING ANY SORT OF REFUND?? HOW DO WE STOP OTHER LITTLE CHILDREN'S DREAMS FROM BEING SHATTERED??
  • electromonkey
    electromonkey Forumite Posts: 8 Forumite
    If I hadn't read all the bad reviews this morning before my family and I set off to 'traumaland' as my partner renamed it I would have been still crying now I think... I am too exhausted to recall the horrors of our experiance today, lets just say that all the above write ups are very sadly true, my mother in law was reduced to tears, my son was left with terrible nappy rash as I couldn't bear to change him in the poor excuse for a changing area at this hellhole and we had more festive fun at the garden centre on the way home! I am so upset that I convinced my loved ones to all fork out for this 'magical experience' (£135), we left after 30 mins...

    Yes the weather was against us all this weekend but really, would it have been any different in the sun? I enjoyed the bonfie and fireworks in Winchester in the terrential rain more and that was free!

    When I have the energy tomorrow I will contact every possible person I can think of to try to get something done about this and I really hope others do, we can't let them get away with this. Maybe someone still intending to visit could hand out flyers in the car parks with numbers/addresses/websites etc to contact - I took as many 'evidence' photos as possible too, including the shabby costumes...

    Just think how much these people are making, think of how many cars were there today, most had 4 people in, multiply this by £30 for each ticket (even under 2's were charged £10)... I reckon they must have made in excess of £30, 000 today and this weekend wasn't even sold out

    It's unforgivable
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