Fair Go: Hard-sell paintball company refuses to explain salesperson’s false information

It's a rite of passage for many teenagers, a favoured go-to for stag parties, and a brave venture for workmates up for some team bonding.

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Hamilton’s Annie Zhewenwu brought 10 tickets from International Paintball Group, but when she tried to book, was given conditions she hadn’t been told about. Source: Fair Go

The idea is to have some good old-fashioned fighting fun.

But some customers of International Paintball Group (IPG) have found the battle's been with the company itself before getting anywhere near the venue. 

IPG is the paintball company that uses hard-sell tactics in shopping malls up and down the country.

People buy deals of 10 or 20 tickets at a time.

The most common complaint is that the full cost isn't made clear at the time of sale.

This issue has previously put IPG in the headlines and led to a warning from the Commerce Commission.

Here at Fair Go, we covered the pricing problem a few years back.

Those types of complaints have continued rolling in but more recently another issue was fired through. 

The new complaint came from Annie Zhewenwu from Hamilton.

She'd bought 10 tickets in Chartwell Mall, lured in by the glossy brochures, thinking it was just what her young son would love to do with his friends.

She set about booking a day in the school holidays.

A weekday was essential as her son's best friend was never available at weekends.

She didn't think this would be a problem as she'd specifically asked whether a weekday was possible.

The salesperson told her the tickets could be used any day except Christmas Day, so, plenty of weekdays to choose from.

But when she tried to book, the venue said the tickets could only be used at the weekend unless she brought 20 people to play. 

Annie thought this was ridiculous and wondered whether she'd heard things incorrectly at the mall.

So she went back to check and recorded her conversation.

Second time around and it was the same message.

She was told the tickets could be used any day except Christmas Day and that there was no minimum number of players required, the sales person adding, "you can even go by yourself as there'll be other people to play with you". 

Annie contacted IPG with her complaint and said if she couldn't use the tickets on the day she wanted that she'd like a refund.

IPG said she was too late for a refund as that could only be given within the first 14 days of purchase.

Fair Go took up her complaint.

It wasn't just a refund we were seeking but also some answers as to why false information was being given out by IPG salespeople. 

Eventually after many calls and emails, the offer of a refund to Annie was finally made but by this stage Annie wasn't interested in the money. It was the explanation that she was keen to hear.

But despite numerous requests, IPG are still refusing to explain why they allow false information to be used in their sales patter.

This leaves Fair Go and Annie with no alternative but to warn people away from using IPG.

If you want to fight your friends, rather than a multinational company, choose one of the many other paintball companies around.