LAMC production, the production company that brought Singapore concert-goers, the Guns N’ Roses Not in This Lifetime Tour concert (event) at the Changi Exhibition Centre on 25 February 2017, has issued a statement about the various comments that have been published about the issues faced during the concert.
LAMC Productions was faced with mounting complaints from Guns N’ Roses concertgoers after attending the rock band’s sold-out concert.
Complaints were mainly about the RFID credits, where audience members bought credits in advance, which were stored in an RFID tag. Some complained that the credit was not reflected despite paying at the ticketing and many stated that they could not use the pre-paid credits after queing for the food and drinks as the organizers ran out of them.
LAMC: First time using digital payment services
LAMC production (LAMC) said that the concert on 25 Feb, was the first time that it used the digital payment services.
Impressed with the pre-concert presentations by Sandpiper Digital Payments Asia (Sandpiper), a company that provides cashless payment systems, LAMC engaged Sandpiper to provide its services for the event. It then relied on their experience and expertise, taking the advice that 30 scanning devices, 25 top-up devices and 60 POS terminals were required against the projection of expected number of concert-goers.
Sandpiper’s turnkey solutions for big events included provision of RFID wristbands, ticket scanning devices, top-up devices and food and beverage point of sales devices (POS). All these were part of a package comprising a complete IT infrastructure, customer interface and a digital payment system.
LAMC claims that it never had possession or control over these devices as they were handled and placed at the various locations at the venue by Sandpiper.
It further states that Sandpiper provided LAMC Productions with pre-event operator training and had trained the ushers. Sandpiper also provided and invoiced LAMC Productions for cashiers, telling that the cashiers were experienced and trained.
“The digital payment system was entirely Sandpiper’s. Except for ticket sales handled by SISTIC, Sandpiper was the “merchant” for all digital payments – pre-event and onsite during the event. This included collection of payments for food and beverage.” said LAMC.
It further listed the issues arising on the day of the concert:
- There were inadequate scanners to manage the expected number of concert-goers
- Many scanners ran out of charge with no back-ups provided by Sandpiper and caused delays
- Several top-up devices were prone to rebooting during service and caused delays
- Some of the cashiers provided by Sandpiper demonstrated inexperience which caused delays
- One or more POS devices were not delivered on time to food and beverage outlets and there were also malfunctions which caused delays
- Sandpiper did not provide an effective supporting team onsite during the event and had no contingency plans for the above issues
And attributed the complaints during the concert as knock-on effects from the issues raised above.
“It is incorrect that only two top-up stations consisting of eight cashiers each were deployed. These two top-up stations were deployed in the indoor exhibition halls. A further two top-up stations with four cashiers each were deployed outdoors. Hence, 24 of the 25 top-up devices recommended by Sandpiper were deployed.” said LAMC.
LAMC wants to process the refunds but does not know who to return the monies to
Apart from ticket sales, the digital payment services provided by Sandpiper meant that they engaged with the paying concert-goer to receive their monies, deduct payments for food and beverage, hold the concert-goers’ data and naturally, effect refunds.
During the concert, and in the pre-event top-ups, concert-goers made payments to Sandpiper using credit/debit cards and cash onsite. LAMC Productions is not certain if Sandpiper received payments through the PayPal gateway.
All monies from the pre-event top-ups and onsite during the concert were therefore received and held by Sandpiper, not LAMC. It states that Sandpiper, as the “merchant” (much like a store or restaurant who transacts one’s credit card payments), had and has control of the concert-goers’ monies.
According to LAMC, Sandpiper was to provide post-event reports and settlements in three to five business days after the event.
It states that as of close of business, Friday 3 March, five business days have lapsed and LAMC has not received proper post-event reports and settlement data from Sandpiper.
“Sandpiper has been to-ing and fro-ing with LAMC. LAMC had wanted Sandpiper to effect refunds of the concert-goers’ unused balances directly to their credit/debit card accounts.” said LAMC and notes that it wants these refunds to be effected by Sandpiper directly to the concert-goers without any further delay.
According to LAMC, as Sandpiper transferred over the cash collected from onsite top-ups during the event in one lump sum and has not provided any concert-goer details or a breakdown of the lump sum received in cash. As a result, it claims it does not know who to return the monies to.
LAMC said that it is baffled that Sandpiper do not want to process these cash refunds as well and is now consulting their lawyers on the matter.
Sandpiper: Unable to contact LAMC Productions and refunds application portal up as of Thursday
In response to LAMC’s claims on the comnpany, Sandpiper states that it has made multiple attempts to contact LAMC Productions on Friday (3 March) via phone and email, with no success.
“We have proposed a web based solution to the organizer for them to be able to start collecting customers refund applications, and are awaiting their feedback and acceptance,” says James Kane, Director of Sandpiper Digital Payments Asia.
Kane also said, “I am completely perplexed on why this is not moving along faster.
Sandpiper states that as it has mostly been the case for large cashless events in Singapore, be it via paper coupons, plastic tokens, or digital credits, unused customer balances usually remain unredeemable. This is due to the inherent logistical difficulties related to issuing onsite refunds, and to the organizer’s need to close the event accounts quickly after the close of any event. It believes that event goers should be able to have the opportunity to carry those balances for future events, should they choose to do so, hence the development of the events wallet option – iGo.
As a vendor, Sandpiper Asia provides systems that assist event organizers to tally their customers’ transactions, and to get an idea of the overall flow of funds within the event. Organisers generally prefer to handle and retain their cash payments collected on site to make payments to vendors, suppliers, etc.
In order for Sandpiper Asia to be able to secure that it can send balances back to iGo users, it provided a merchant line to organizers and process the credit card payments on their behalf, for remittance in bulk to the event organizer.
Sandpiper claims that it did not retain ownership of any funds collected on-site, at no point, on behalf of any organizer. It states that it has fulfilled its services portion to the iGo users and awaiting details from the organizer to be able to remit them the remaining merchant line balance so they can tally with their collections, and begin the refund process.
It said that it had met with LAMC representatives on Tuesday, 28 February, and proposed a solution for them to be able to offer customers an online portal in which that customer can enter the wristband serial number, see their remaining balance, enter their banking details and initiating the refund process. From there, the organizer can begin to settle the outstanding customer balances.
The refunds application portal has been ready as of Thursday, 02 March, but Sandpiper claims that the organizer has yet to accept the portal, and provide their banking details.