More fallout from closed banquet halls

September 25, 2008 5:57:24 AM PDT
More stress for people who thought they had a place to hold their wedding or gala. We first told you about Bella Terrazza and Tuscany at Garden Oaks shutting down Monday.See previous story

Now the general manager's voice mail message says damage from Hurricane Ike forced them to permanently close the Bella Terrazza and temporarily close the Tuscany at Garden Oaks. Vendors say the problems started well before the storM, claiming they haven't been paid in months.

Since then, we've learned a special investigator with the Better Business Bureau has been assigned to help people get their money back.

Special needs students at the Crossroads School will be hit hardest by this unfortunate situation.

"We do not get funds from the state or the government, we are purely non for profit," said Dr. Gila Arnoni of the school.

Instead as Dr. Gila Arnoni explains, they throw an annual gala to raise money for student scholarships, teacher's salaries and books. This year they planned to hold it at the new Tuscany at Garden Oaks.

They put down nearly $17,000 in order to get that 20 percent discount the company offered so many of its customers.

"That's a red flag, you don't want to do that, you want to pay with credit cards so you can dispute the charges," said Monica Teachout with the Better Business Bureau.

Teachout says the Chef's Table, the parent company of both facilities, already had an unsatisfactory record and two civil actions against them.

"The unsatisfactory rating that we had on them was due to unanswered complaints and that should be a big sign right there that you need to be concerned," Teachout said. "If they are not answering complaints from other people, then what's the likelihood that they are going to address your concerns."

It's still up in the air if the former customers will get their money back. The BBB says the company has not filed for Chapter 7 yet, so make sure to file a complaint now with the bureau if you were affected by the closure.

Some couples could opt to buy wedding insurance, to protect them from things like a sudden cancellation or stolen gifts. It usually costs between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage. Before you buy insurance, check with vendors to see how well they're covered.

To help out the former customers, click here.

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