Fair Trading Questions Tropfest About Entry Fee Refunds, Festival To Possibly Return In Feb

16 November 2015 | 1:58 pm | Staff Writer

"NSW Fair Trading is currently making enquiries into the cancellation of Tropfest."

Since its unceremonious and unexpected cancellation last week, and subsequent offer from streaming service Presto to save the festival, iconic short film festival Tropfest has now been questioned by the NSW Department of Fair Trading about the countless entry fees the festival collected.

As Mumbrella reports, Tropfest's organisers refused to confirm whether they would refund the approximate $18,000 in entry fees from over 400 applicants, but the NSW Department of Fair Trading assured that, "NSW Fair Trading is currently making enquiries into the cancellation of Tropfest."

Fair Trading also put a call out for affected entrants: "Anyone who has made a payment to enter the Tropfest competition can contact Fair Trading to lodge a complaint at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or by calling 13 32 20. Affected consumers who paid by credit card can also contact their financial institution to check eligibility on applying for a charge back."

Tropfest has simply made a statement saying, "Tropfest is looking into options for the films and filmmakers who entered this year. There has been a lot of good will received over the last couple of days that will hopefully help to achieve this. Tropfest is happy to address the questions around the entry fees as quickly as possible."

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A number of finalists and event sponsors have criticised the lack of communication from Tropfest organisers regarding its cancellation, stating they were not notified and were simply following "the rumour mill updates like everyone else". 

Meanwhile, SMH reports that Tropfest director John Polson is "cautiously optimistic" of bringing the 22-year-old festival back in February, saying he's hoping to find a "guardian angel". 

Polson says, "I honestly thought there was almost no chance it was going to come back but the phone literally hasn't stopped ringing.

​"I'm not going to be popping any champagne till I'm standing there at a press conference with the finalists who've obviously been left out in the cold, like everybody else, to announce our plans for the future."