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Payment FAQs:

Why do we charge a small fee for our events?


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  Here are 9 reasons why there is a small fee to attend our events:

  • there are costs associated with managing many Meetup groups around the world
  • there are costs associated with developing and maintaining software used in our scheduling process (i.e. our Member Preferences tool)
  • there is time associated with creating the topics, discussion notes, and Food for Thought pages for each topic (and with this I draw on my 14 years of experience coordinating discussions to perform these tasks)
  • there is time associated with managing thousands of members in our Meetup groups (answering countless emails, removing disruptive members, managing the democratic process to find the best locations and dates for the events, etc)
  • free events involve approximately 20-30% last minute cancellations or no-shows while the attendance rate for paid events is approximately 95-100%
  • we need to maintain good relations with our restaurant venues which means that we cannot have 20-30% of people not showing up when we make reservations
  • it has been proven that paid events attract more participants who are genuinely interested and enganged in the discussions
  • our events have value which is proven in the many positive comments that have been provided by our members
  • your contribution helps to fund the Calopia project

If you believe that all Meetup events should be free...
then doesn't that suggest that all Meetup events have the same level of preparation involved? This is certainly not the case. It is true that many Meetup organizers post a sentence or two about the upcoming event and hope for the best. If you've been to one of our events then you realize that a lot of effort is put into the preparation and coordination of our events which is why our events continue to have such high ratings in cities around the world.

Click here for details on how our events are scheduled


Can I pay in cash at the event (instead of online)?

For groups in China and India:

Due to problems with PayPal in these countries, you will be able to pay in person but with a strict understanding that no-shows (people who say they will show up but do not) will be removed from the group since we need to maintain our good relations with the restaurant when we make reservations. (i.e. if we say 12 people are coming, they need to show up).

For our groups outside of China and India (where PayPal is working well) our policy is the following:

Members are only able to pay via the Meetup website since this has proven to be the most reliable means of managing the number of attendees, collecting the small fees, and ensuring that members show up at the events. It has been proven that there are a high number of people who do not show up when they do not prepay to attend and we need to maintain our good relations with the restaurant when we make reservations. (i.e. if we say 12 people are coming, they need to show up).


What is the refund policy for our events?

We have chosen to adopt the standard Meetup refund policy (made available at the point of purchase) such that refunds are only provided in cases where an event is cancelled or rescheduled. This policy is in place for the following reasons:

1. No shows. The main rational behind this policy is to reduce the amount of last minute cancellations which was previously a big issue especially since our events are based on filling up multiple tables of 6 people. Basically, when we had free events or provided refunds we had many last minute cancellations and no shows. This lead to restaurants no longer taking our reservations so we had to change restaurants. This was bad for everyone. The bottom line: when people pay knowing there are no refunds (unless the event is cancelled or rescheduled) there is a much higher attendance rate. If events are free or if people can cancel at any time and get a refund, events don't fill up and our relationship with the venue is compromised.

2. Resources. Another reasons why this policy has been adopted is due to the amount of events being scheduling on a daily basis around the world with respect to the varying amount of reasons why people are asking for refunds which are impossible to verify, and the amount of time it takes to track down and reverse transactions in the PayPal system especially since many people use a different name for their payment then on their Meetup profile. If the fee for our events was higher then we could afford to hire someone to process refunds but we intentionally do not want to increase this fee.

3. Favoritism. Previously, providing refunds to some members and not others has caused its own set of problems as well and the time to weigh one person's reason for asking for a refund over someone else's reason just takes away from time otherwise spent in managing these events.


How much is the fee for the events?

The fee varies but in most groups it is approximately $5 CAD (Canadian currency). This is converted to other currencies in countries outside of Canada. There is usually no fee for our new groups which are just starting off. By initially not having the fee barrier this allows our members to see the value of these events. Unfortunately the no-show factor is a problem with free events. Even when the upper limit for the event is increased this still causes problems since it is hard to predict the number of no-shows. This is why the small fee is introduced once a group becomes more established.


Why do I see the fee listed in a different currency than the currency of my city?

Currently, Meetup only supports the following types of currencies: USD, CAD, AUD, GBP, EUR, and BRL. The default currency is USD when the local currency is not supported by Meetup. 


I paid for an event but now I cannot make it. Could I apply my payment to a future event or can I sell my spot to someone else?

The Meetup/PayPal system does not provide the ability for payments to be carrier over to future events nor does it provide the ability for one member to sell their seat at an event to another person. Each member who purchases a seat at one of our events is forced to click a check box stating that they agree to the stated refund policy (with link provided). If you can no longer attend an event then you are asked to change your RSVP to 'No' otherwise you will be considered a no-show for that event.


There are two events taking place near me. I signed up for one event but I'd like to change my RSVP to another event. Could you do this for me?

Given the number of members are groups around the world we are not able to accommodate such requests, however, you are certainly able to change your RSVP to 'No' for one event and then sign up to a different event in your city (but you will still need to go through the payment process again to pay for your spot at the other event). Please see our refund policy on this page.


Does the fee include the cost of my dinner?

No, you still need to purchase your food and drink on your own.


Do I need a PayPal account to pay?

You certainly don't need a PayPal account to sign up for our events. Just look for the link which allows you to pay with a credit card.
Click here to view screen shots to assist you


I don't feel comfortable using a credit card over the internet.

When you make a payment for one of our Meetup events online, your payment transaction is processed with PayPal (not Meetup). PayPal is used by millions of people to process transactions around the world and most credit card companies protect you from unauthorized transactions. Bottom line - using your credit card through is just as safe as online banking.


I don't have a credit card, can I still pay?

If you don't have a credit card, PayPal allows you to transfer money from your bank account to a PayPal account. You can then use your PayPal account to pay for a Meetup event without a credit card.


Are you having problems signing up for an event?

First, make sure that you are signed in to the Meetup website. You then need to be on the web page for the specific event that you want to sign up for. Click the link below for additional steps once you are signed in.

Click here to view screen shots to assist you



Thank you for being part of this ongoing experiment.

Glen Brauer
Founder, Facilitator, and Event Coordinator
Philosophy Dinners & Psychology Dinners

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