Country Life Sued For Refund Charges

Total Merchant Services Inc., a third-party credit card processing company, filed suit against Blu Entertainment Group in U.S. District Court Aug. 7, claiming the organizers of the canceled Country Life Music Festival in Chillicothe, Ill., knew advance tickets sales couldn’t sustain the festival but continued to promote it.

Country Life, scheduled July 17-19 at Three Sisters Park, was abruptly canceled June 9. While consumers who purchased tickerts by credit card are being refunded, the amount has exceeded “several hundred thousand dollars.”

TMS claims its contract with Blu Entertainment required the promoter to reimburse the credit card processor for chargebacks. Blu and Country Life were also required to keep sufficient funds in reserve in case of cancellation, according to the Journal Star. In addition to Blu Entertainment and Country Life, the lawsuit names founders Mark Rhinehart, Erik Nelson and Brad Maloney as defendants.

The company alleges that organizers knew in late 2014 or early 2015 that low ticket sales jeopardized the festival and they didn’t have money to pay artist deposits at another Country Life festival in Punta Gorda, Fla. Instead, the suit alleges, funds were taken from the Illinois festival’s ticket sales and used to pay deposits for the Florida edition.

TMS seeks damages in excess of $300,000 in addition to reimbursement of chargebacks paid to ticketbuyers, punitive damages, court and legal costs, prejudgment interest and other, unspecified costs, according to the Journal Star.