Couples have been left devastated and hundreds of pounds out of pocket after a wedding firm suddenly shut down.
The unexpected closure of Monster Munchies has left brides-to-be without catering packages, decorations, DJs, dance floors and photo booths ahead of their big day.
Samantha Cox and Darren Bott, who ran the firm, ceased trading last week, claiming they were 'victims of their own success'.
A 'heartbroken' Ms Cox reached out to stressed-out customers with a post on her personal Facebook page, where she apologised for letting them down and explained there was "a plan of action" in place after seeking legal and financial advice, reports Birmingham Live.
But the explanation provided little comfort for one bride-to-be, who was left in limbo just nine days before her big day.
Since 2017, Helen Hawthorne had paid the couple £1,849 for a variety of services, including decorations, a DJ and photography.
The 40-year-old, who is due to say 'I do' on Saturday (July 27), found out about the firm's struggles online and immediately contacted the couple, demanding answers.
Eventually, Ms Cox responded to an email, informing Miss Hawthorne that as she was 'local', the booking would be honoured – but by then it was too late.
"I told her we'd already had to look at other suppliers as we had no idea if they'd show up on the day. We later found out that three other brides had been booked in on that day. I'd also seen her selling equipment online, so we had to look elsewhere.
"I asked for a refund but she said it wasn't something that could be done quickly."
Miss Hawthorne, of Walsall Wood, said the whole experience made her "ill", adding: "I didn't sleep for three days.
"We have managed to get other suppliers but I'm so angry that we've had to borrow money from our families to make sure we'll have what we've already paid for."
Another customer, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had booked a £500 package, which included a flower wall and DJ, for her upcoming nuptuals.
After the 32-year-old handed over a £200 deposit, plus a £75 'travel fee', she was horrified to stumble across a Facebook page that featured numerous bad reviews about the firm.
"People were saying that she hadn't turned up on the day and had let them down," she said.
"I contacted her and asked for my money back but I was told the deposit was non-refundable but I could cancel if I wanted to."
The mother-of-two said Ms Cox offered her 100 chair covers and sashes as compensation – but only if she'd travel to pick them up.
"I didn't want to spend any more money – it's a long way, I live in South East London – and what if she didn't turn up? I just feel gutted about the whole situation. I'm an intelligent person but I just feel so foolish.
"The brides who were getting married at the weekend were devastated, they were left with no services or money."
A support group for customers has been set up on Facebook – with members claiming they have spend an total of £38,000 on services that were undelivered.
However the group – which is one of many – is just "fuelling the fire", according to Ms Cox, who insists they are "doing the decent thing, regardless of what people think or say".
Her statement said: "We never set out to fraud or scam anyone despite a lot of lies flying around about us at present.
"We started our business in 2014 and ran it very successfully for many years. But unfortunately we became victims of our own success and cracks began to appear. We managed to hold it together for a very long time.
"Things started to go wrong when other people got involved. Some unhappy customers and trolls began telling people to cancel our services so any money that was made was used to make refunds. This increased until any revenue we had we were having to use to pay back. This left no money for future bookings.
"At this time we are in receipt of no benefits, no tax credits, nothing. We relied solely on this business to pay our rent or lock up rent, van hire, travel costs, bills and anything else to do with the business. It soon became apparent that we were robbing Peter to pay Paul so relied on future bookings.
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