Woman's food truck venture turns into nightmare

A Houstonian says she and her partners are out thousands after hiring a company to build a food truck for their new business
November 21, 2013 8:25:39 PM PST
The food truck revolution is kicking into high gear in Houston, with many new restaurants-on-wheels hitting the streets each month. But one Houston woman and her business partners say they're out thousands after hiring a company to build a food truck for their new business.

The deposit was put down and contract signed. But when it came time to building out the actual truck, they ran into problems. Now, they want their money back.

Back in August, Melissa Duarte with her business partners hired Food Group of America to build a food truck for a new business venture.

"We picked out at that time all the different kitchen equipment that we were going to need for the truck," Duarte said.

To get the project started --

"The young lady that was there with us told us, 'I need $5,000 down right now,'" she said.

Duarte says they paid the deposit and were promised to see a truck after the weekend, and the company would then build to their specifications after receiving another payment. That's when they say the problems began.

"Monday and Tuesday turned into, 'Come on Friday, well then come on Saturday.' And then the following week started," Duarte said.

According to Duarte, it was three weeks later Food Group of America brought in a truck from out of state. Duarte says the truck was too small to accommodate all of the features they asked for in the contract.

"For the next four weeks, there was somebody in Louisiana every single weekend per her text messages, or her phone calls. But yet no trucks were being produced," Duarte said.

Duarte tells us they decided to break ties with the company and ask for a refund. After that request, she received a letter stating, "The project preparation for your project totals $4,500, leaving a store credit balance of $500."

Now according to the contract, it states no refunds of fees are given, only store credit. However, the People's Lawyer Richard Alderman says Duarte should be entitled to a refund.

"A company has the right to limit somebody's remedies in the event of a breach, in a contract. But it doesn't matter what the contract says; if you pay a deposit, and a company just doesn't perform, you are legally entitled to the return of the deposit, and you may have damages under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act as well," Alderman said.

After numerous calls to Food Group of America, they did not return our requests to appear on camera or give us a formal statement. However, they did tell us they believe Duarte is not entitled to her refund.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

Load Comments