Following revelations in The Kernel on Tuesday that events company Aquila London Events had been creating fake social media profiles and and holding competitions described by their customers as “scams”, readers contacted us in droves wishing to share their experiences of the firm.
The Kernel received emails from former customers of Aquila London Events who had previously been duped into thinking they had won a VIP experience or various other prizes. The overwhelming message was that these tactics had been used for years. Carl Silverstone, the owner of Aquila London Events, is alleged to have been sending out heavy-handed legal threats to silence criticism, going so far as to convince multiple bloggers to delete their entire sites.
Aquila London Events threatened The Kernel with legal action if our article about them was not removed.
Much of what we received in the hours following our story cannot be reprinted for legal reasons. But here is a selection of the ones that can, together with comments made by Aquila customers on social media in the last 48 hours.
The Kernel was contacted by someone who had worked for Aquila London Events.
“I read your article about Aquila and I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS INVESTIGATION! A year ago I did some flyering for Aquila in a few universities and I NEVER got paid!”
Our original article revealed that Aquila employees bought Facebook accounts to use for promoting their events. One potential customer got in touch with us to confirm our story.
“I once wanted to ‘sell’ my Facebook account for them. They wanted £50. But a couple days later they said it isn’t right for it.”
The London subreddit was filled with tales of Aquila club nights.
“I got hit with her on Tinder. Then she sent me that message and I checked out her Facebook just to be sure and it was pretty see-through and a pretty blatant marketing ploy. At least I thought so. Still, I can see how it works on people. Preying on the fact that it’s a pretty woman liking you on Tinder, and let’s be honest, on Tinder your guard’s gonna be down a bit.”
“I’ve been a runner up to Aquila competitions more times than I care to remember. The thing is, when I first went to Proud in Camden, we needed to type in our emails just to get in! Having had a few, I went with it and gave them an email I actually use a bit. For months after I was ‘winning’ VIP nights (provided I brought 40 friends, of course).”
“I went along with a friend who’d won a VIP night through Aquila at Proud once, never again. Like the article mentions, entry was free anyway, the ‘VIP area’ was just a stable with wooden benches that we were sharing with another group. The ‘goody bag’ was pretty much a disposable camera and a lollypop or something like that.”
“I entered once. The club’s not my scene at all, I just wanted the booze and laptops. As you guessed, I was runner up and got the exact same message shown in the article.”
“Had one of these birds message me on Tinder once. I just wanted to bone :(”
“That girl blowing the kiss in angel wings, under the name Brook, matched me on Tinder. I blocked her when I realised she was unfeasibly hot. Seems like I dodged a bullet there!”
“I can back this up, I’ve entered the competition three times via Facebook sharing and each time I’ve won the ‘runners up’ prize, it’s a dirty way of pulling customers in. People should post this article all over their posts so people know…”
“I saw someone [post the article] on the Aquila Facebook and it was gone in minutes.”
Wronged clubbers also took to Twitter to voice their outrage at the scam tactics used by Aquila and also to express relief that someone had finally exposed the company.
@JamesLiamCook yep Newquay to London an back. Also had friends get a train from Birmingham for it, all to be disappointed on the door!
— Sophie Cain (@Sophie_Cain) November 27, 2013
— Éamon de Valera (@sweatybifkin) November 26, 2013
– at laaast someone’s reporting on the scammy Aquila crew. http://t.co/aaym3r2Yct
— Emily (@emilymullender) November 28, 2013
— Amelia Littlejohn (@AmeliaRoseL) November 27, 2013
— Joshua Smith (@smitho1992) November 26, 2013
— Ben short (@benshort14) November 26, 2013