Reception hall closure stuns customers

July 30, 2012 10:24:15 AM PDT
Bad news for dozens of people planning parties in northwest Houston -- the reception hall that was to host those parties has closed for business. It has left broken-hearted parents and kids in its wake, and people wondering how they will get back the thousands of dollars they have paid in deposits.

At a hall where sweet 16th birthdays and quincea?era parties and wedding receptions were to be held, the doors are now permanently shut and the owner is nowhere to be found.

The quincea?era Ana Rubio was throwing is just weeks away, but the hall she booked in longer available. The owner has gone out of business.

She said, "I am angry about the situation because I started planning for this six months ago."

Rubio says she paid the last of the $2,000 she owed on the hall just two weeks ago.

"She looked me straight in the eye and she took my payment," Rubio said. "We discussed some design options for the place and that was it."

Rubio is not alone. In October Kaylyn Garcia's sweet 16 party was to be held in the Events with Elegance Hall on Highway 290 near FM 1960.

Kaylyn said, "I'm mad because who would do something to me and little kids like that?"

Kaylyn's mom Melanie Garcia says she is out nearly $4,000. It's money Garcia says she paid to Events with Elegance back in February. Garcia says the first sign of trouble was an email from the hall owner earlier this month.

She said, "I came by and I looked and peeked through the windows and saw the mess and I could not believe it."

Garcia says now she cannot get in touch with the owner of Events with Elegance for a refund. The same is true for Hector and Ofelia Gonzalez, who say they rented the hall to host a wedding reception for their son.

"We have emailed her numerous times, phone called her, texted her and there has been no success in getting any replies," Ofelia said.

The people who have lost money say they are filing complaints with the Harris County District Attorney's office. As for getting money back, the Houston Better Business Bureau says it is possible, but highly unlikely unless the hall was rented with a credit card.

Leah Napoliello with the Houston BBB explained, "You then can go back to your credit card company and dispute the charges and hopefully that will work."

We have called and sent emails to the owner of the hall and even stopped by their address in Houston and have not heard back. The customers we spoke with say that's the biggest problem right now -- no contact with the owner.


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