Angela West thought she had everything planned for her daughter's wedding.
The Cincinnati mom had ordered a unique square tiered cake from a highly recommended cake shop: Fantasy in Frosting on Monmouth Street in Newport, Kentucky.
But she just learned the shop has closed. And now this College Hill woman doesn't know what to do.
"They should have sent us a letter saying they are going out of business, can we get a refund. We didn't get no response, nothing," she said.
She says the shop still has her $75 deposit on her daughter's special cake.
Unfortunately, this happens so often when a small business goes under, and customers have made a down payment on a product or a service. They are left with no answers, and no refunds.
Why did longtime shop suddenly close?
So we went to the shop and found former owners Diane Gearing and Nancy Snodgrass liquidating all the contents at 50% off, and preparing the building for sale.
Gearing explained that they ran the shop for 30 years, until they recently retired and sold the cake business to one of their employees, Robin Plank.
They claim she ran into some financial problems and was forced to closed up, and is the one who apparently still has the wedding cake deposits of several customers.
"We feel terrible for all the customers," Gearing said. "But we never did not take care of any debts we owed. And in this case we cannot pay back what we didn't get."
The listed number for Plank's phone was no longer in service, so we went to her Northern Kentucky home to try to get answers. A man who answered the door told us she has not been well, but wants to do the right thing and is trying to refund customer deposits.
So don't let this happen to you. When booking a wedding bakery, photography, limo, or other service:
- Check the wedding vendor's Better Business Bureau report. If you see a pattern of similar complaints, be suspicious.
- Check their Yelp reviews. While some can be unfair, they can give you a heads up to potential problems.
- Make your down payment with a MasterCard or Visa credit card, not personal check. And don't pay with cash or Venmo, which gives you no way to get help in the event of a problem. A credit card company can reverse fraudulent charges.
Angela realizes she is only talking about $75, and not hundreds of dollars, but she says the bigger thing is she is not sure if her daughter can order a specialty cake now on such short notice.
"I'm worried because I know how important this wedding is to her," she said.
Diane Gearing and Nancy Snodgrass say they feel terrible about what has happened, but say there is nothing they can do, as they haven't run the shop for several years. They hate that their longtime business may have ended on a sour note.
As always, don't waste your money.
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