The Christmas party plans of more than 1,000 people in the Midlands have been wrecked after a party firm went bust.
The premises were empty when trading standards officers called
Birmingham-based UK Balls Limited went into liquidation last week owing 1,200 people across the region a total of £60,000 for parties they had booked.
Bookings were taken for a series of Snow Balls at Sandwell Park Farm Showground in West Bromwich later this month. They have now been cancelled.
Trading standards officers are investigating the firm.
One group of workmates, from the Revival Hair salon in Chelmsley Wood, said they had paid £1,000 for tickets they had not received.
"I know this sort of things happens, but you just think it's never going to happen to you," said the salon manager Amanda Canning.
"It's not just money paid out for the ball - people have gone out and bought ball gowns, jewellery and shoes."
Jackie Kennedy, from Birmingham Trading Standards, said the firm had registered for liquidation last week when they left their offices in Lee House, Highfield Road in Edgbaston.
When BBC News called the phone number on the firm's advertisement there was no reply and the company's website was not working.
She said that if people had booked the parties using a credit card they could claim the money back through their credit card company.
"Anyone who hasn't paid using a credit card or is a company could make a claim for a refund through the liquidators, but I won't be too optimistic," she said.
"We are investigating but it appears that this company simply went into liquidation."
She added that UK Balls Limited would be writing to all customers.
The liquidators are Bottomley and Co, based in Cawston near Rugby.
Sandwell councillor Linda Horton, the cabinet member for culture and leisure, said the initial bookings by the firm at Sandwell Park Farm had been cancelled.