Q BLOGS – Once again, Costa Ricans have been scammed by an unscrupulous promoter/travel agent, leaving 150 Costa Ricans stranded in Juan Santamaria Airport, when a promoter/travel agent didn’t pay the airline for their passage to Mexico City to attend the Costa Rica-Mexico soccer game tonight.

Similar circumstances to these are repeated over and over in Costa Rica, as Costa Ricans routinely fall victim to these virtually unregulated shysters.

I attended a Michael Bolton Concert in the Hotel International in Escazu, approximately two years ago. Fresh Market was an agent for the Concert Promoter (no blame attributed to Fresh Market) to sell the Concert tickets. I

attended at a Fresh Market location and was shown a seating plan for the Concert (theater-style), to choose my and my wife’s seats, which I did. On attendance at the Concert, the seating plan bore no resemblance to the one I had been shown previously, when I purchased the tickets. There were at least two to three times the number of seats in the same space I’d been shown, arranged around tables in groups of eight persons per table, nothing similar to theater seating.

What is your recourse at that point?

Virtually every large event run by a promoter ends-up in a similar fashion, with the promoter manipulating the offering to their own advantage to make more money.

This is largely allowed to happen, as a result of weak Consumer Protection legislation and even weaker policies of enforcement by the Government Agencies charged with such.

There is little in the way of legal recourse against these promoters for unscrupulous and fraudulent behavior after the fact.

Most of these promoters work from behind “shell companies” with no assets to claim against and rarely carry-on business from a fixed address.

Future Consumer Protection legislation in Costa Rica must require both the licensing and bonding of such promoters, to provide consumers with a reasonable level of assurance that they will not be scammed.

With the mandatory bonding of promoters, at least there will be fund available to reimburse those who fall prey to these unscrupulous and fraudulent activities.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: rick@costaricacanadalaw.com Website: www.costaricacanadalaw.com