Company refuses to apply deposit as they stated to another affair. Failure to stand by their word.
In 2008 my fiancée and I agreed together that we would hold our wedding reception at Martin's East located at 9000 Pulaski Highway, Baltimore, MD 21220, so I went into Martin's and signed a contract for our reception to be held on September 09, 2009. Unfortunately the same year my fiancée was also involved in a very bad motor vehicle accident that we thought he would recover from in time for the reception. Much to our surprise his recovery took much longer then any of us anticipated. So in June 2009 when my fiancée was not progressing as planned we decided to cancel our reception as Martin's as my fiancée was physically unable to attend and enjoy the reception. We received a letter back from Martin's acknowledging our cancellation and the letter also stated "Although we are not required to so do, as a gesture of good faith, Martin's may apply a portion of your deposit amount towards ANY future affair you may book at ANY Martin's locations". In the mean time my fiancée and I were married as original planned but in a private ceremony due to the situation. We know the Martin's deposit was being held if we choose to use it.
In September 2013, I was invited to participate on the plan committee for my high school reunion in which Martin's was an option for booking. I thought to myself what a perfect event to use my deposit on. So I contacted Martin's on October 17, 2013 via email and asked if I could apply my original deposit for the final balance of this new event. I also agreed to sign the new contract along with another member of the planning committee which I believe the committee chair is signed on October 25, 2013. I received an email back from Martin's stating I could apply the deposit because the event has to be "a like or similar event".
Needless to say I am very upset about this as I am already married and will not be holding another marriage ceremony or the reception which we didn't have due to my husband condition. However, I am upset at the fact that Martin's stated in a letter that "Martin's may apply a portion of your deposit amount towards ANY future affair you may book at ANY Martin's locations". Again Martin's stated "ANY future affair" and as you can see on the attached letter there are no stipulations to was that future affair can or cannot be. Then Martin's told me on the phone that I couldn't use the deposit because the reunion is not considered a private affair. Although I stated "I will be happy to sign the contract along with ******* ******** to transfer the funds". I'm not sure how many other people would want to attend an affair for a high school reunion. If you ask me that is a pretty private affair.
I would like Martin's to honor their letter that they mailed me and apply our original deposit to the final balance of the new affair.
I would like Martin's to apply the deposit from our September 9, 2009 affair to the new affair on October 11, 2014. Again, I will be happy to sign the new contract along with our chair to make the transfer.
Regardless of the reason for cancellation the customer signed the contract terms which clearly states:
Patron agrees that Caterer shall have the absolute right to retain all monies, including the deposit, up to 70% of the contract price, and Patron further agrees to pay any portion of the contract price up to 70% of the contract price which may not have been paid.
The cancellation letter Martins sent customer (customer attached) clearly reads:
Although we are not required to do so, as a gesture of good faith, Martin's "MAY" apply a portion of your deposit amount towards any future affair YOU may book at any Martin's locations. The exact amount, IF ANY, will be determined after booking your future event, and can only be applied toward the final bill of your affair.
* According to the contract that the customer signed on 6/2/08 Martin's had the absolute right to collect 70% of the contract which totaled $8,709.60. Martin's did not pursue collecting this amount. The customer's deposit was $2,613
* The customer booked the event AFTER the accident and is now claiming the cancellation was due to the accident. The accident occurred on 4/12/08; customers signed the contract on 6/2/08 for an event date of 9/9/09
* The customer booked the event in June 2008 and had the date reserved for 15 months, she cancelled the event 10 weeks prior to the date of the event leaving Martins no time to re-sell that date and time. See the cancellation customer attached dated 6/26/09. The event was scheduled for 9/9/09. The customer was aware of the no refund policy as she clearly states in her letter "I was hoping that you would make an exception and consider refunding what you could of our deposit. In the event this is not possible, we both understand"
* It is clear on the cancellation letter that this deposit is the property of Martins and we make a determination if any of the deposit can be applied to a future event
* The event the customer wants to apply this deposit to is not HER event, it is a public reunion that was booked on 3/20/13 (event date 8/10/13) for ******* **** Alumni booked by ******* ********* That event was cancelled and rebooked with the event date of 10/11/14, again in the name of ******* ********* Deposit has already been secured by ******* ********* Note: this event is not HER event that she is using HER money to fund. There will be tickets sold and she will be reimbursed for any money she puts out. This is what constitutes this as being a public event, not a private event sponsored and paid for by an individual.
* Customer requested supported documentation from Martin's which was emailed to her on 10/22/13. At that time she responded in her email to **** *****, "Can you please forward the documentations to this email as you stated you would do for review? After I review the information then I can speak with Mr. *******".........the customer never called Mr. ******* to discuss after she received the documents
The contract and documents speak for themselves. The deposit is the property of Martins and is forfeited at the time of cancellation by customer.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The bottom line is that the ******* *****-**** (client) received a letter from ******* *********** General Manager of Martin's East on June 29, 2009 which clearly stated "Martin's may apply a portion of your deposit amount towards any future affair you may book at any Martin's locations". This letter was issued after the client provided all documentation regarding the accident to Martin's. So if there was an issue with the date of the accident in regards to the date of the contract being signed then Martin's should not have issued a letter with the statement of "Martin's may apply a portion of your deposit amount towards any future affair you may book at any ******'s locations".
This is the event that the client choose and per the letter from Martin's "any future affair" to apply the deposit. When the client contacted Martin's regarding this issue the new contract for October 11, 2014 was not signed and the deposit was not yet secured. The client also offered and agreed to sign that contract along with ******* ******** before that contract was signed on October 25, 2013 by Mr. ********* The client is still willing to sign the new contact along with Ms. ******** which will connected her personal name to the event. However, Ms. ******** signed the contract and made a deposit to secure the event date while the client tried to work out this issue with Martin's. Ms. ******** is not aware of the communication between the client and Martin's as the deposit in question is a donation to the October 11, 2014 event from the client.
With all due respect a high school reunion is not a public function as those who did not attend the high school or the graduating class would have no interest in attending this event. While tickets are being sold for this event the funds collected are to pay for each person's attendance, not for profit. Any additional money collected would be used towards upgrades with Martin's and a cash donation being made to a classmate whose son is battling childhood leukemia to help with medical expenses. Therefore, the client would not be making a profit or being reimbursed in anyway.
The Martin's company prides their selves on being a "family-owned business" and they "never forgotten the reason we're in business, which is to make each and every event truly special". However Martin's has and is taking advantage of an unfortunate situation. They come up with stipulations after the fact regardless of the correspondence that came directly from Martin's dated June 29, 2009. Regardless of the false facts that Martin's is now trying to employ the sheer fact that "any future affair" means any future affair. If there are or where stipulations to that statement then they should have been clearly listed as well.
Final Business Response
As stated in the first response, the customer booked the event in June 2008 and had the date reserved for 15 months. Usually when a client cancels an event that close to the event date (10 weeks), the deposit is completely forfeited, however Martin's made an exception and the letter from ******* ********** clearly states "Martin's may apply a portion of your deposit amount towards any future affair you may book at any Martin's locations", (key word being "MAY"). The client does not have the option of "choosing" if and where the deposit may or may not be applied or the amount. The client is well aware of the contract terms per her cancellation letter which includes her statement "I was hoping that you would make an exception and consider refunding what you could of our deposit. In the event this is not possible, we both understand". The event she wants to apply this to is a class reunion and is NOT an event that SHE booked nor was she involved in the signing of the contract in any way. Martin's decision remains the same.