- 9 years ago
- Wedding: March 2014
I think you took the best option, and your review was completely fair (I checked it out on Yelp, and voted it as “useful”). Hope that gives you some closure and you can enjoy married life and forget about a horrible situation!
Eek, I hope the company comes to their senses and at least offer you half of the catering costs ($1000). It’s completely their fault they put you in that situation, and they should do what they need to to make their customer happy. It doesn’t matter they are a “mom and pop” company… it’s called “the cost of doing business!”
I know this is a little late, but my father is a magistrate who has ruled in many cases similar to this and I asked him what the law says about this in our state.
First, do not accept any money from the vendor until you have consulted an attorney! Accepting money can ruin you case.
My father works in NC, and laws vary by state, so you will need to consult an attorney to see what the law is in your area.
In NC, this would likely fall under “willful disregard” for a contract. It is a clause meant to discourage vendors from doing exactly what this guy did, or worse from accepting a better, higher paying event at the last second and screwing a smaller event over. In this case you are entitled to “treble damages” which is legal speak for three times the original contract. This would more than pay for your new caterer, and compensate you for their negligence.
SUE. Oh my god, sue. I am a lawyer: Sue. I’m just saying. You need to be able to quantify your damages, which is tough because you ended up buying replacement food for less. But if you sue them for the maximum amount permissible in your jurisdiction, they may settle for a few hundred at least.
And of course write a letter and file a complaint with your local Better Business Bureau. And absolutely write about your experience on Yelp, Weddingwire, etc–if I saw even a single review that said a caterer didn’t show up to a wedding, I would never consider using them. /shrug. It’ll be an expensive lesson for them.
Thank you both for the perspective. One thing I’d like to note is that we didn’t get the replacement food for free. We ASKED them to pay for the food, the day after the wedding when the dust settled, and they refused. They offered to cater us a lunch in the future, which we declined, because we didn’t ever want to talk to them again (or give them a chance to ruin ANOTHER event!).
You bring up good points, but I think suing them would be painful and time consuming, and it’s also likely difficult to prove that anything was done with malice, which I’ve read is a crucial part of the “willful disregard” clause of contracts. Ultimately, they horribly screwed up their schedule, which suggests negligence and incompetence in running a business, but probably not malice.
We still do need to write a complaint to the BBB.
Frustratingly, we wrote bad reviews on Yelp, and many, many guests chimed in as well, but Yelp de-duped all the reviews but my initial one! I work in the internet, so I can understand how/why they would do that, but frustrating, nonetheless.
I think you should at least consult with a lawyer….if it is you you can get “treble damages” it would be worth your time…
I also would NOT believe the company saying they are a mom and pop business and cannot afford to pay you the money for the other catering company….I call BS….
I also would wonder how many times this type of thing has happened with this company and they’ve gotten away with it by using this line on their customers…..
Don’t bother taking them to court, you wont get anything (source: asked husband who is a lawyer) and it’ll just end up costing YOU money. Write reviews all over the ineternet.
I would suggest this to you.
First of all I think it was at least thoughtful of them to send some family members to help you out but that was not the contractual agreement between you and your Original caterer.
Whether they are a small food business and can afford a $2000 bill is of no consequence to you.
They breached your contractual agreement by failing to provide a service that was fit for purpose and I think you should sue them.
They need to remedy you for your loss which though you claim is not pure economic loss is a loss none the less, the loss of have having the meal that you had agreed to on your wedding day.
Also sue them for the emotional distress that this caused your wife, the panic when she realised that they had double booked and was unable to do her hair and make up.
This is a clear win for you, though the court will consider that the meal you did have was cheaper they will also consider other factors like the circumstances surrounding why this was so. It was not like you found out three days to a week in advance and should have been at least able to find a suitable replacement.
Forget social media and letting it slide. I say promise you they will never mkake that mistake again
I would be in contact with them and tell them you’re considering these options: taking them to small claims court, or warning potential customers of the terrible time they caused you and almost ruined your day for you via every social media outlet there is around, and filing a report with the Better Business Bureau. I’d tell them you are a dissatisfied customer and understand that they cannot pay the $2000 that would make you satisfied, but is there anything ELSE they could do before you take the steps you have in mind. (you do like their food, so maybe $500 in gift certificates or something? i know that’s not a huge deal but maybe you could get SOMETHING out of it.) I would give them a last chance to remedy it some way somehow, and if they offer nothing well then i’d be very happy to warn other potential customers via online reviews, file w BBB, and i’d likely find a lawyer friend (lucky me my bro in law) to tell me what my small claims options and costs would really be.
I would agrue that since they were also supposed to provide you with staff, paltes, etc., that you are probably owed more money, since although the replacement food was less expensive, you were not made completely whole in terms of the agreed upon service. Having your family clear plates was not part of the original deal.
If you continue to talk to them about compensation, I will just warn against making it seem like you are trying to blackmail them, ie: “I won’t post bad reviews if you give us $600” that’s extorsion. Otherwise, I would totally write bad reviews up the wazoo. If they are disorganized enough to not notice double booked weddings when you were talking to them earlier in the week, then I’m sure they have larger problems than just you.
I would have been VERY VERY angry!
They double booked, that’s their mistake. Because of that, you and your wife did not have a good time and the food served was not what you wanted. Technically, they spoiled your wedding day and I would ask for a whole new wedding hahahaha
I think you should leave them bad reviews everwhere you can. It should be THEIR responsibility to take care of their reputation. Someone mentioned if you really want to destroy a small business like that- well, you aren’t. They are doing that themselves. If they want to rectify the situation, they should give some kind of compensation.
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