Post # 1
So, a few weeks ago we went for a tasting with the second of two caterers we had been in contact with. (This was actually the second meeting scheduled- the first meeting my Fiance contacted the caterer about, and it turned out the caterer actually forgot and we had to reschedule.) Anyways, we had a tasting with the caterer, which he said he would not charge us for. The tasting was good, but nothing crazy- two appetizers, a salad, two shared entree plates- one of chicken, one of salmon. However, the caterer forgot that we had specificially mentioned that I have a seafood allergy, and served us a shrimp appetizer. Needless to say, I was not pleased. We decided after the tasting to go with the first caterer we met with, and sent this caterer and email. We thought that was that.
…Until tonight, we checked our mail. We recieved a letter from the caterer, billing us for the “free” tasting. He never said it was only free if we signed a contract later with him, and in fact due to our small budget he encouraged us to “shop around” and look at other caterers. The other thing that makes me irate is the cost of the tasting. $187 for two people. That is outrageous for the food he served.
What should we do? If we do not pay this bill, will it show up on our credit report? Is there a way to contest this?
Post # 3
Is it possible you were charged because you had to reschedule the first tasting? Depending on how much notice you gave the guy, he may have already purchased and prepared some (if not, all) of the food which in turn had to be thrown away because you didn’t show. If this was the case, I would expect him to charge you for the tasting if you chose not to go with him.
$187 does seem pretty steep though. Our tasting was free for up to 4 people and we could bring more for $40 p/person but we also paid $100+ p/head at our wedding so the food we sampled was quite extensive.
Post # 4
@Puffthemagicdragon: The first tasting was actually rescheduled because the caterer forgot we had it planned.
Post # 5
Oh, I read it that it was your Fiance who forgot. Nevermind, then.
Do you have anything in writing stating that the tasting was free? I’d just email the guy and ask why you were billed since you were under the impression that the tasting was free. If the terms were that it was only free if you chose to go with him, that was never disclosed to you so you’d have no way of knowing that. If he insists on you paying, you can either cough up the money or ignore his request. I doubt he guy will take you to small claims court over $187. It’ll cost way more in the long run than just cutting his losses.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2013 - The Down Town Club, Philadelphia
That seems outrageously high. Our venue charges an additional $50 if we want to bring other family members in. That seems normal.
But $187? What a random amount. I would ask for an itemized bill, actually.
If they don’t have your social security #, which I hope you didn’t give them since you didn’t go to contract with them, it won’t show up on your credit report.
They can take you to small claims court if you don’t pay.
You can always try to haggle them down.
Post # 7
@Puffthemagicdragon: I edited it to make it clearer. Yeah, I would think $187 in the long run is chump change to a caterer that does many high end weddings. I don’t want to pay it on the principe of it.
@Reeniero: It ended up being $187 because it was $75 each, plus tax. No, we absolutely didn’t give them either of our social security numbers. Unfortunately, we do not have anything in writing. I do think you are right, that I should contact him. Who knows, maybe he doesn’t even remember saying it was free.
Post # 8
This happened to my SIL with a wedding planner. She was supposed to do a “free” consultation, and then sent her a bill (I forget how much). She kept harassing my SIL, and threatening to take her to court, so she ended up paying her. The consultation was at SIL house, she even went to her door!
Anyway, if it was ME, no way on gods green earth would I be paying that bill.
Post # 9
What??! I would NOT pay that bill.
Post # 10
Thats insane. I wouldnt pay it. You told me it was free and now your charging me an arm and a leg? I dont think so.
Post # 11
I’m glad I am not the only one who feels this way. I am pretty upset about this, but I know putting things in perspective, it is a minor thing. Caterers must be used to sometimes meeting with prospective clients, and having them go with another caterer. It is part of the business!
It is frustrating because we went into the tasting excited and open-minded. The main reason we didn’t choose him was a) because he didn’t even remember that I have a major shellfish allergy (that I told him outright about before) and served me shrimp and b) because even though we told him our budget, at the tasting he kept emphasizing how small our budget was. (Not exactly endearing to anyone. When did spending $5k for catering become chump change?)
Post # 12
I came across a few caterers who offered a free tasting, but charged nominally if you didn’t sign a contract with them – like $25 or something. I think the amount he’s charging is high but I don’t think the idea is outrageous. Don’t respond, and if gou get another letter tell him you will pay for one plate because he messed up the seafood appetizer thing but you’re pissed because this wasn’t made clear.
Post # 13
around where i live, tastings are never free unless you already sign on with the venue/caterer etc.
at least the ones i looked into, which was alot.
lesson learned, always reconfirm or get things in writing.
just explain to him that you were NOT impressed with how he handled everything(forgetting appointment/your allergy/and “forgot” you had discussed it was free) and see how he is with that. If he’s a jerk, just suck up the cost and move on. i know you don’t want to but sometimes it’s better to do that then to deal with a bigger issue later on because of it.
Post # 14
I would definitely ask him for an itemized list for how it comes up to $187 for 2 people for a tasting. Also ask him if he added gold to any of the dishes?
Post # 15
If he continues to be a jerk about it make sure to leave a review about how he conducts himself on Yelp and Google!
Post # 16
Wow. It was pretty shitty of him to bill you after claiming it was going to be free. If I were you, I’d probably pay half of the bill (your FI’s) and enclose a note saying that since he carelessly put your health at risk by serving you something to which you’d notified him you have a severe allergy, you won’t be paying for your tasting. I feel like that’s pretty hard to argue with. That or give him a call expressing your displeasure at being billed for a tasting you were told was going to be free and letting him know that you’ll be posting reviews of your experience on the interwebs.