Compensation for Cafe Fest turns sour

SINGAPORE - Organisers of a cafe festival that had not gone down well with some coffee lovers have offered vouchers to make amends - but this might have soured the situation further instead.

The pop-up Cafe Fest held at the Waterfront Promenade near Marina Bay Sands two weekends ago had disappointed many people who bought special passes, only to realise that those without passes were served as well.

Last Saturday night, organisers of the Cafe Fest said on Facebook that they would compensate pass holders who have written to them with cafe vouchers.

For example, VIP pass holders, who paid $30 for their passes, would get $25 worth of cafe vouchers in $5 denominations.

They can be spent at six cafes, including Jimmy Monkey and Necessary Provisions.

However, some felt the compensation was not sincere as the vouchers last only till October and have many terms and conditions. At least one pass holder has complained to the Consumers Association of Singapore.

Because of these terms, pass holders likely need to visit several cafes to use up all their vouchers, instead of spending them at a single cafe at one go.

"It's very inconvenient," said Mr Shaun Lee, 23, a student.

Ms Stephanie Tan, 30, a retail professional who bought VIP passes, said: "On top of that, many people will be redeeming in that period so there will be crowds too."

Pass holders also need to go to a "central pick-up point" at the upcoming weekend to collect the vouchers.

Some like Ms Zoe Lin, 23, an account executive in a social media agency, hoped for a refund.

"I understand they can't refund us in full as there are event costs, but maybe at least half."

To others, adequate compensation means vouchers which last till the end of the year or a cash refund equivalent to compensation voucher amounts.

Organisers Gabriel Tan, 29, and Sarah Lek, 27, apologised on Sept 6 for the pass fiasco. They noted that many had asked for a refund but said on Facebook that much of ticket sales was channelled to the event.

They did not respond to The Straits Times' queries yesterday.

This article was first published on September 15, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.