Still no refund roadmap for cancelled Vancouver Formula E race

The Formula E race scheduled for July in Vancouver was cancelled earlier this year. | Getty Images iStock/peepo

The promoter of the cancelled July 2 electric car race in Vancouver says it is up to the ticketing contractor to refund ticket holders.

OSS Group CEO Matthew Carter also disputes reports that Formula E has split with his company, which is planning to try again for 2023.

On June 17, Formula E said it was ending its contract with Montreal-based OSS - and Vancouver would not be on the soon-to-be-released 2023 calendar.

The City of Vancouver said it learned via media reports about the contract termination and would be seeking confirmation.

“To date, the City has had some preliminary conversations with the OSS Group and the Formula E Group concerning steps toward permitting a 2023 event, with no date yet ascertained and no host city contract currently in place,” said the city hall statement.

“The city released the statement without speaking to me,” Carter said. “... They were just confused. They thought that we had a contract in place for 2023 and that [was the contract that] had been terminated.”

Instead, Carter said the terminated contract was for this year's cancelled race.

“We're clearly not doing a race this year, so the contract needs to be terminated,” he said.

On April 21, OSS and Vancouver city hall separately announced the 2022 Canadian E-Fest cancelation. OSS claimed it had sold 33,000 tickets to the June 30-July 2 event, including the ABB Formula E World Championship tour race. It did not have all required permits from the city and private landowners to stage the race and related activities around eastern False Creek.

Holders of tickets, which started at $150 each, have been in limbo since then. In a May interview, Carter said: “Our preferred way forward would obviously be for the tickets to be valid for next year. But right now, as I say, we’re waiting for Formula E to confirm the date for next year.”

Now OSS says that the ticketing company, ATPI Sports Events, will contact ticket holders to begin the sorting-out process in July. Carter refused to provide a definite timeline.

Last December, ATPI announced it would be the exclusive travel, hospitality and ticketing partner of Canadian E-Fest for a five-year term. Nobody at the Montreal company could be immediately reached.

“So there's a process that the ticketing company needs to go through exactly how it works. But I think... the event date has to be passed before we can start the process,” Carter said. “I’m not an expert, so don't quote me on that. I have no idea. Our ticketing company [is] dealing with the ticket holders directly.”

Carter was asked why OSS can’t simply begin the process now, since it contracted the ticketing company.

“The ticketing company contracted with the customer,” he said.

Later, he said: “With the greatest of respect, it's a question for the ticketing company, not for me.”

The three-day festival was also supposed to include a celebrity electric car race, electric vehicle test drives, a concert by Nickelback and a business conference headlined by environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich and former Mexican president Felipe Calderon.