Reptoparty – What Would You Do?

Reptoparty (now known as Radical Reptiles UK) have a bad reputation building online. They double and triple book parties, and often you find out on the day that your party is cancelled. Here’s our Reptoparty story.

Reptoparty (now known as Radical Reptiles UK) are based in East Grinstead and do reptile parties around the region. But there’s a problem. This is our experience. We were eventually refunded three months later.

I was chatting with a workmate about both our daughters upcoming birthday celebrations. She mentioned she had booked Reptoparty who were offering a 50% off deal for parties on Facebook. I saved the page for later and checked with them for availability.

A few messages back and forth and we booked H’s party for the 16th October. To get my 50% discount I had to pay in full up front. As we were about to go on holiday I thought it was best to do this. I wouldn’t have to think about paying out too much more later on. So I did it by bank transfer.

A few weeks later a local mums Facebook group posted warning others about Reptoparty. They said their child’s party got cancelled on the morning. I found the thread after a few people had replied. This hadn’t happened once or twice – it had happened a few times to different people. He used the same excuses on different days. When people compared notes people started to feel like they had been scammed. Lots of last minute cancellations. Then I found these Mumsnet threads. Then this Netmums one. Then the 1970s Diet blog.

It’s fair to say, these last few months have been stressful for me. I’ve had panic attacks and have been quite anxious about things on a daily basis. The first thing I did was to message Reptoparty on Facebook to check our party would be okay. Maybe it was just an oversight. Dan Barnes who owns Reptoparty replied saying “Indeed we are Jo. All in diary and confirmed. See you in a few weeks”. I felt reassured by this, my friend who has her party two weeks after mine received confirmation too.

I mentioned Reptoparty to a friend who was looking for someone like this to come to her work. She messaged Dan, asking what was available on the day of our party. After all, if he’s in the area then why not?

He offered our party time. The exact same time he had confirmed to me was “in diary and confirmed” (sic).

I cancelled our ReptoParty. I lost all confidence in them being able to deliver what we had paid for and I couldn’t face the stress I would get wondering if he would show up. Knowing that our timeslot had been offered to someone else.

As it stands, I still do not have my refund of £112. Dan has stopped replying to my messages on Facebook. He reads them. I’ve been polite and reasonable and kept any anger about what has happened away from it all. I want to know when I’ll get my money. After all, if you pay for a service, and it doesn’t happen, any reputable business can pay you back. They haven’t spent your money.

The problem is, I’m not the only person in this position. All the people who have paid for parties up front have had their money spent. There are many. We’re talking about anything up to 20-30 people.

The brilliant Wild Fangs were able to do H’s party at short notice. There are many companies who are stepping in for cancelled Reptoparty parties. That’s an extra cost, and not everyone can afford to do it. We were able to pay for H’s party as I had sold some of her toys to cover it. Not ideal, but the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts party happened, with us out of pocket.

So what happens next? We have no easy way of getting a refund.

Some payments for ReptoParty go through PayPal as Friends & Family. You can’t get a refund on a Friends & Family payment – so don’t do it if you’re entering a business transaction! A direct bank transfer is similar, there is no way of getting a chargeback – the person who has your funds needs to have money in their account for you to get your money back.

There is only so long you can message someone before you know you’re not going to get a reply. I know my messages have been seen and I’ve been polite and reasonable.

So I’m going to take a legal route, as many other people who didn’t get their parties have. It’s a great shame. I wanted to believe that Dan could turn his parties around. Those who have been to one have said they’re brilliant. At H’s school alone there are four parents he has let down in the last year.

It’s disappointing.

H and Derek the Bearded Dragon from Wild Fangs

Have you been let down by Reptoparty? What did you do?

There will be a follow-up post to this. Firstly, for the brilliant Wild Fangs who were able to step in. Secondly to post about the kind of things you need to think about and look out for when booking a reptile party. I’ve learnt a lot these last few weeks.

There is a Facebook Group for anyone who has had their party cancelled (the Group has been removed from Facebook due to someone complaining about it, how frustrating – there are still at least ten people waiting for refunds who are now getting no support and are blocked by Dan on the Reptoparty page). You will need to send a message to the admin before approval.

UPDATE – Dan has now responded to my messages saying they were archived. I’m curious. If something is archived in Facebook, then how would it show a datestamp of someone viewing it? Anyway, I have been advised I am next in line for a refund.

UPDATE 2 – I’m a bit hacked off. I mean, if you pay a business then cancel, you’re entitled to your money back if the services haven’t been provided, right? So when you find out that the person you’ve paid has sent a screengrab of his bank balance to you, he has spent your money, despite seeing him having sold one of his horses on a Facebook selling group (for £3500). Something doesn’t add up. I feel like a complete mug, and like I have been taken for a ride here. Then I read this.

UPDATE 3 – Dan Barnes of Reptoparty UK has blocked me from his Facebook Page. I’m not sure if this is akin to sticking your fingers in your ears. He may as well be saying “la la la I can’t hear you so I’m not going to send you any money that I owe you”. This is unprofessional behaviour and I don’t have all the time in the world. It’s going to be easier to report him to the police and catch up with everything else when I get a chance.

UPDATE 4 – Of course he hasn’t refunded me. Of course I’ve found out several people have been refunded since the last update. Shaun messaged him, which was read immediately but no response. We now have no other option than to take out a County Court Judgement to get our money back. I have the paperwork, and I have Dan’s address. Other things which have come up over time. Dan Barnes has had four businesses with reptiles. Reptile Party (the reviews say he cancelled as there was snow), Barnseys Reptiles, Reptopartyuk, and now Reptoparty. There are companies who have been picking up his last minute cancelled parties for three years now. I now have mums at school coming to me and telling me he’s advertising again, which I can’t see as I’m blocked.

FINAL UPDATE – I got Dan’s email address and contacted him and received a reply. His email address is on the business FB page but somehow I missed it. Yesterday he refunded many people, including me. So this is now over for me and it never went to court. I slept well for the first time in weeks last night.

EPILOGUE – A lot of people got refunded when I did, but a lot of people still haven’t been. Customers are still having their Reptoparty parties cancelled at the last minute. Some as recent as last weekend (December 2017). Is it right it’s still happening? If you are reading this and have had this happen to you I would recommend joining the FB group (if it is ever able to come back, if not then there are plenty of other places people are sharing information).

There are a lot of people in a similar position. The group has been dubbed a witch hunt. In actual fact it’s lots of desperate parents wanting their money back. Most of them have been blocked from Dan Barnes’ personal and business accounts. All people want are answers.

Those of us who have been able to get our money back are offering them help. There are new people appearing on a daily basis.

Reptoparty are registered at Companies House as of the 2nd November 2016 and are still trading.

Reptoparty have ceased trading in December 2017, as has Radical Reptiles. However, word is getting out there that Dan has set up a new reptile party company…

19 Replies to “Reptoparty – What Would You Do?”

  1. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that hassle and stress. I have lost count of all the parties and bookings that I have had to cover because of this poor excuse of a company.. I know some people have managed to get refunds but that’s only because they are being nice to him. The scary thing is that he is still advertising as if nothing is wrong. I’m glad H managed to have a great party though mate.

  2. Yes, so many have been hurt by Dan and Reptoparty/Reptopartyuk and so far he’s been allowed to get away with it and is still taking money for “bookings”. It’s really sad that Dan, with a family of his own could operate in this way and continue to keep ruining people’s special days.
    For those of you still wanting a reptile experience, Tom’s Talking Reptiles could save your day at the last minute. We realise it’s not just the no show from Dan, it’s the hall, the cake & the whole theme of the day to add to the disappointment. Have a look at our website, our facebook videos, reviews and photos to book us in with confidence.
    Facebook: TomsTalkingReptiles
    It throws salt to the wounds when people defend and still go to Reptoparty despite the evidence, cries from families telling what he has done to them and all the other businesses like ourselves which operate correctly and doing their best to save the day last minute. We don’t want people to think Tom’s Talking Reptiles has any association with Dan or Reptoparty and do not want an overall ban stopping us from performing. We operate as a proper business caring for our pets (most of them rescues), are registered as a business & are fully insured to do what we do. We have a Performing Animal Licence, full Risk Assessments and 100% 5 star Facebook ratings that can all be found with ease on our website: TomsTalkingReptiles
    We want to do all we can to stop Dan from ruining special times and from tarnishing our business, and others like us that treat people with the respect, kindness and honesty.

  3. Yes similar, but he had actually pulled out on our party with about 2hrs notice on the day in September, I got a message from his account saying both he and the reptiles had been injured in a car accident en route. I was stressed but also upset for what I thought was a genuine excuse. The only reason I got suspicious is because the next day I went to message to see how he was and I’d been blocked, checked FB page, blocked, phoned him, no response, email returned. Then I typed his name into google and found out the truth. He hasn’t repaid, I’ve been polite, he’s responded twice to a sea of messages each time blaming the fact that he can’t get any future bookings as being the reason he can’t repay me.

  4. I would do exactly what you have done and used the power of social media (like he has to fund his lifestyle of horses, holidays and god knows what else) and spread the word. Ulitmately if you eat in a bad restaurant you take to trip advisor and let people know. There’s no difference. Thanks for the link to my blog post which I took to writing once 2 of my friends had their little ones party cancelled on the DAY!! Now that’s some organisation isn’t it – the man that claims he can’t keep a diary – I’d say he’s got exceptional organisation skills as he’s able to contact people (why the day though Dan? Week would be better) on the day with his Walter Mitty farce excuses. Ultimately you and hundreds like you have done NOTHING wrong. You booked in good faith and paid in full. He – the criminal – spent the money and had no intentino of turning up to parties although he took an idea from my blog about “the business growing too quickly” dan I was just being diplomatic I could have gone into full on rant mode but will save that for another day. You are morally bankrupt letting down brain damaged adults?!! Your girlfriend is no better – taking money into her account from strangers knowing full well you won’t turn up. You can’t refund as you spent the money. Telling people if you keep quiet you’ll get the money but if you haven’t you won’t seriously? You are fighting a losing battle. Making an honest living is hard work isn’t it and doesn’t pay for long haul holidays but least when you mee tyour maker you can say you didn’t turn people over. You are a disgrace

  5. Hey. Im one of those people awaiting refund. He told another member i was next on the list that time you all got your refunds. Been waiting since August 5th. Now using a solicitor and about to lodge ccj paperwork for refund, expenses and interest.

  6. We booked for my little girls 5th birthday on 31 January! Paid the money on full! His now blocked me and removed the business page on fb. Bring just after Christmas we are truely gutted at paying the £75 discount price! Where we go from here, I just do not know! Truely heartbroken

    1. I’m part of a support group which tries to help people who have had problems with Reptoparty – we spotted the page had gone last night, however, it looks like it was taken down rather than him removing it. Fortunately you should have any messages saved as ‘Facebook User’ to do with your booking so take screengrabs as it looks like everything has gone from his previous page. He has a new page at at https://www.facebook.com/ReptoParty1/ – hopefully he’ll set up a website so problems like this won’t happen.

      Let me know how you get on – good luck! Some parents have recently taken out CCJ’s against him, but hopefully you’ve been caught up with this and your party will still happen.
      jo recently posted…2016 in ReviewMy Profile

  7. Hi could you please let me have his address as he appears to have disappeared from Facebook and has my money for a party next week!!!!

    1. I can’t believe he’s doing it again – a year on from when he did this to over 50 people. This is crazy. I’ll drop you an email as we found last year when we made it known Facebook groups were set up to help get refunds when we were let down, Dan would report them to Facebook and they would get removed. I’m so annoyed for you – I spotted he had disappeared from FB for both companies he has set up – so annoying when you’re a customer. Good luck and keep an eye on your email!
      jo recently posted…Friends for All at the Polka TheatreMy Profile

  8. This guy is an con artist. I live in the United States and he contacted me via a freelance site to create flyers for him. After I did the design, revisions and sent him the print file, he cut off communication and has ignored my repeated attempts to be paid. Also the flyers I did were for a different company name. I think he is changing to Radical Reptiles. He also has a new number, it’s 07775264612 and his new email is radicalreptilesuk@hotmail.com

  9. We’ve just been let down by Daniel Barnes. Party booked for tomorrow and he cancelled last night. I paid in full to get the benefit of his discount. No money in pot to refund and we doesn’t answer his phone or reply to my messages. I’m shocked that he has scammed so many out of money. I take people at face value and trust that they will do what they say they will. Dan has confirmed via messenger and emails that he will be attending and now cancelled at the last minute. I feel disappointed, let down and angry. On a positive note Tom’s Talking Reptiles have come to our rescue at very short notice.

    1. Ugh, this makes me so cross. It has been almost a year and a half since all this happened, and yet he’s still doing it. I saw the company had closed (and Radical Reptiles) – and I still get a lot of messages about him doing this. It is shocking what he’s got away with – any decent business would hold the money until after the event. I’m so glad you got someone else in to rescue the party. What I don’t get is he has a son, and how would he feel if his son’s party which he had paid for up-front then cancelled on the day? It was a very stressful three months getting my money back from him. Good luck!
      jo recently posted…2017 – Our Year in Review.My Profile

  10. This has just happened to us too. He reckons he has no money in the pot for refunds. company is still listed as active on companies house so if I don’t get a refund by the end of the weekend I will be starting a small claim against him – I know its only £86 but the fact he has gotten away with doing this for 18 months is unbelievable…its basically theft! Police will also be called on Monday as well. Have also lodged a complaint with Trading standards too

    1. Stu. I tried reporting him to the Police this morning and they took my details but said there is nothing they can do to pursue this for me. They advised that I report him via Facebook as well as to Trading Standards and look at small claims court proceedings. I’m not sure I can face fighting for £80 but am angry at how much we have had to pay to get another Reptile entertainer at such short notice on top of what we paid to Dan Barnes.

      1. We found that acting together as a group helped get the refunds faster. One person was in contact with Dan and he seemed to get things sorted out eventually. Possibly money from more party bookings (not the best business practice).

        If only he’d just turn up to parties then he wouldn’t have these issues.

        We tried Action Fraud but they weren’t much use. There were some people who complained to Trading Standards in Surrey when he lived there, then to Trading Standards in Kent who didn’t seem as interested. Group power is the way forwards. He became a registered company at some point so now has even more expense as he winds his company up, if he ever does.

        Good luck – and if I think of anything I will let you know. Start a FB group and pool information because working together will help get results. There was one, but it was removed, so I wouldn’t recommend using the name ‘Reptoparty’ in the name.
        jo recently posted…Mazuri Kids Haircare RangeMy Profile

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