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Couple cancels wedding due to COVID-19 but can’t get a refund

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — The year 2020 has been one many won’t forget, especially Abbey Schuster and Ephriam Jones. Last year, the two set their their wedding date for October 17, 2020. However, once the pandemic hit, it didn’t look like a happily ever after anymore.

“We stressed concerns about how nobody knew what was going on, that we were worried,” Jones said.

The couple reached out to Zilli Hospitality Group back in March, the catering company they paid $6,300 to host their wedding.

“She was stating that we couldn’t get a refund then and that the only thing we could do was have a smaller venue or postpone to next year.”

Jones said that’s not what they wanted. They continued to ask for a cancellation but still no luck. Sept 1. rolled around and the couple finally received an email.

“We can either postpone it and get all these extra charges or we can cancel it and get none of our money,” Schuster said.  “We’re not expecting 100 percent of our money back, but some of the payments.”

The couple responded to the email trying to compromise, but Zilli Hospitality Group still didn’t budge.

CBS 58 got a copy of the email exchange. The group provided the couple four options: keep the planned date, postpone date and carry over deposits, cancel and forfeit deposits or cancel and seek legal counsel.

“For us to not get any of our money back and not get any service out of it. It’s just unacceptable,” Schuster said.

In the couple’s contract, it states if the cancellation occurs within six months to 364 day, 50 percent of the total estimated cost must be paid and retained by Zilli Hospitality Group. The couple originally reached out in March, which is about six months before their wedding date.

“Like play with peoples’ money like this and only look at it like a business aspect, I think it’s very sad to me,” Jones said.

CBS 58 wanted to know were there any other complaints against the business so we did some digging.

According to the Better Business Bureau website, a complaint against Zilli Hospitality Group was filed June 1. The customer said it took Zilli Hospitality Group at least a month to get back to them about their concerns and when they wanted to cancel, the company wanted to keep half of the deposit made when the customer said Zilli didn’t even do enough to deserve half of the money back.

CBS 58 called Zilli Hospitality Group for comment. We are waiting to hear back.

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