Editor's Note, 2/13/17: An earlier version of this article said an executive at Confirmed was accused in the lawsuit. The executive was not accused. We sincerely regret the error.
Charles Evans and his wife say they were “promised” a “once in a lifetime” weekend in New York, but say they were bilked out of almost $84,000 by a concierge company promising tickets to Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, and backstage passes to Hamilton.
Except SNL and Fallon don’t sell tickets; Hamilton doesn’t hawk passes.
Now the Evanses are suing Confirmed, an “experience agency” that solicits “suppliers” to anonymously “sell experiences,” such as apparently tickets or special access. Evans claims they suckered him into shelling out the big bucks for the VIP works at the shows and never delivered as promised.
Back in December, Evans hoped to surprise Catherine—his wife of 20 years—by lavishing her and their closest pals with a trip out east: They’d leave Texas for a weekend of live entertainment in the Big Apple, with SNL being the main event.
“I went to bed at 9:30 that night because I was so embarrassed,” Evans told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview. “That was my Saturday night.”
So on Tuesday, Evans filed a civil lawsuit in Tarrant County, Texas against Confirmed and accuses it of making “false and misleading representations to Evans and/or concealed and failed to disclose material facts to Evans as to whether the tickets and experience promised was actually confirmed.”
The 47-year-old Texan feels he was fleeced for $32,400 (plus out-of-pocket for the $35,000 private jet, the $12,000 bill for two rooms at the bourgeoisie Baccarat Hotel, and $3,000 chauffeured car).
When Confirmed director of sales, “Cameron,” was asked about Evans’s harsh claims he said that the company was “working this out to make him happy.”
“It’s definitely not something that we did anything wrong or did anything to upset him,” Cameron said. “It’s just things happened and we’re working with our team to fix it.”
It started innocently enough.
Evans and his wife were still over the moon after the VIP treatment they’d indulged during a Luke Bryan concert back in October.
He plunked down a little over $700 apiece to join about 30 other first-class attendees to sit backstage and be treated by the troubadour performing an exclusive acoustic pre-concert show.
“That worked out great,” Evans said. “So I thought these guys knew what they were doing.”
In his petition Evans refers to correspondence with Confirmed that included "making calls and sending emails" that started from Oct. 22 through Nov. 3, 2016. The Daily Beast reviewed these emails showing the company's advertising executive selling Evans on the VIP package.
The first email touted the country music concert’s success and entreated Evans to hop on for more lavish happenings.
“When people make a sizable purchase we let them know in the future that they can book events and more through us directly,” the first email reads.
The Confirmed worker went on to assure Evans that he could score precious tickets. And not only that but the email specified how he could “avoid those service fees” and “get premiere customer service in finding the best seats and experiences for you.”
He wanted his anniversary to be spectacular. The opulent jaunt to New York City was perfect.
“I said ‘Great, let’s book it. We go to New York every year and this year’s special,’” he remembered explaining during a phone chat.
The back-and-forth emails feature Evans being assured he and his guests could get into The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for $1,100 apiece. To attend SNL on Dec. 17 it would run Evans “$3,250 per person” or “$2,750 per person”—if he could settle with seeing only the rehearsal.
“This is their holiday special so the price is increased due to demand for the VIP seats,” a follow-up email from Confirmed stated. “Standard price is normally 2500 for a live taping. I need to put in the reservation if you want to get seats for this as they are limited.”
When the director of sales at Confirmed was asked about the fact that SNL tickets are only acquired strictly through lottery or charity the conversation abruptly ended.
“That’s why I said,” Cameron said. “We did not—Yeah. We are done. Thank you very much. Have a good day.”
SNL’s strict no sales policy isn’t unique. Tonight Show tickets “are complimentary and may not be sold or auctioned.” And the same goes for smash hit musical Hamilton where representative Sam Rudy told The Daily Beast they had “no contact with Confirmed” and furthermore don’t take bids for backstage access.
Going backstage, Rudy stresses, is a “rare courtesy” that is extended but “nobody pays for the privilege,” Rudy said.
He added that he encourages anybody hoping to catch the show to be judicious in their choice of purveyor.
“I wish I could help people understand there are three to four bona fide ticket sellers…anything beyond that you’re taking a chance.”
At the time Evans assumed everything was on the level and asked if the Confirmed folks knew who the musical guest would be. He was wrongfully informed through email that the producers “keep it under wraps until the week of the show.”
In response Evans noted he was curious, not choosy.
“It wouldn’t matter who the guest and music were. We would go anyways,” he wrote back.
Just before boarding the jet the happy couple and two of their closest pals mug for photos and Evans divvies itineraries allegedly prepared and sent to him to hand out to his guests for the weekend.
The photoshopped flyer included an itinerary. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, they would catch Broadway’s “hottest show,” Hamilton with assurances each would receive “the additional experience of going up on the stage after the show, backstage access, and meeting the cast members.”
A downpour of bad news struck once they landed in New York City.
“We get the call and they tell us ‘We can’t get you into Jimmy Fallon,’” Evans recalled the account exec saying.
But the resourceful car dealer called on a Texas pal who pulled strings with a Manhattan-based car dealer to fit Evans and his party with the primo Fallon tickets.
The next night Evans’s group headed to Broadway to see Hamilton.
The tickets worked but the “backstage access” was allegedly ignored.
“The only thing they got me, that I probably couldn’t have gotten myself, was I got to go onstage after Hamilton and got to meet a few characters and take a few pictures and that lasted all of about 5 minutes.
“That’s the only thing that they did that I couldn’t do by myself. The only thing for $32,000 bucks.”
Then Saturday night arrived.
Given Fallon fell through and the Hamilton backstage tour flopped, Evans rang Confirmed to be sure SNL was a sure thing.
“I called and asked ‘Hey listen we’re good for Saturday Night Live, right?
“‘Yeah, yeah this was done on day one,’” Evans said he was told by the same Confirmed account exec who prepared his itinerary.
Then an hour later came another phone call.
“He says, ‘Hey dude we have problems.’
“I told him, ‘Please don’t tell me that.’”
He said he told the account executive that breaking his word is not something to play with.
“This is how I work: I’m willing to pay for access. I’m not going to beat you up. I’m not going to negotiate with you. I’m not going to beat your face in. But when you tell me something’s done it’s done.’”
While the show’s stars that week—Casey Affleck and Chance the Rapper—were warming up for rehearsal, Evans was forced to consider a consolation prize.
“He’s telling us, ‘We could possibly get three of you into the [rehearsal] taping, but not the show.’”
Apoplectic, Evans had to step outside.
“Are you guys trying to negotiate with me two hours before we’re supposed to make the show; on the one thing we wanted to go to more than anything? It was going to be three of us out of the four? Are you out of your mind? What’s the matter with you?’”
When Evans returned back to home to Texas he noted that Confirmed offered a full refund.
But Evans felt crossed.
“‘That doesn’t cover it. You blew an entire weekend that I can’t recreate.’”
To make good on their alleged mistakes Evans said Confirmed offered him his money back and comped Super Bowl tickets.
“I said, ‘OK, give me four tickets in the lower bowl area between the 10 and the two [yard lines] and I’ll write a letter and tell my friends that they made a mistake and you guys made good on this.”
The pigskin peace offering never came.
“I still don’t have tickets,” Evans said last week before the game, ultimately informing his lawyer he was ready to take his fight into a courtroom.
“I told my attorney, ‘Go ahead and file the lawsuit. I’m tired of working with these guys,’” Evans said.
The lawsuit seeks a “minimum” of $82,400 plus reimbursement for court costs and attorney’s fees.
To the very end, Evans contends, Confirmed were trying to keep him as a valued client. “I’m being told, ‘Well, we’ll give you future tickets for —’”
Evans interrupted him.
“I said, ‘Dude, I’m never, ever going to ever go fly to New York for SNL and have you guys set me up again. That will never happen.’”