Bride-to-be having refund run-around

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

The wedding of her dreams was booked and paid for, but then, after the wedding was canceled, a former bride-to-be is now fighting to get her money back from Two Rivers Winery.

All Jessica Dinkel had to do was hope a different event was booked the weekend of her wedding, and she says she could have gotten her $6,500 back, but so far, she hasn't seen a dime, and her nightmare continues.

"You don't think it's going to happen to you. You read the contract, you know exactly what it says, it's not going to happen to you," Dinkel said.

But for her, it did happen.

"I was supposed to get married Sept. 29, and we booked Two Rivers Winery and Chateau because it was beautiful. We broke up and called off the engagement," said Dinkel.

Dinkel said she paid Two Rivers almost $6,500 up front, even signing a contract saying she would lose the money if she canceled, but she said a refund policy could have let her get the money back as long as another event was booked in place of her wedding.

"The way it was explained to me was that any money that they get from re-booking, it would come back to me. My deposit-- I pretty much lost it, but whatever they get is what I would get," Dinkel said.

So two friends felt bad, and decided to step up and try to rent out the space at Two Rivers so she could get some money back, but Dinker said the winery turned them away.

"They were told that they couldn't because an event had already been booked. So, I mean, again, you have people that are willing to pay, and the money would have come to me, but instead they went ahead and gave it away for free," said Dinkel.

Dinkel said instead, Two Rivers booked a nonprofit fundraiser, meaning since they weren't making any money, they couldn't pay her back either.

"You think, OK, there's a silver lining. I might get some of this back, but then to have them turn around and just give it away for free, you can't trust them," Dinkel said.

KKCO 11 News did speak with Two Rivers Winery on Monday, but they refused to go on camera. The winery did acknowledge that there is a contractual agreement and said that the two sides have had written communication, but refused to say anything else until they have the chance to settle with Dinkel.

Dinkel said she doesn't understand why Two Rivers wouldn't let paying customers book the venue so she could get money back, and this situation is making it difficult to put the wedding that wasn't behind her.

"Just the fact that you get lied to, disrespected-- I think that upset me more than anything else," she said.

Dinkel said Two Rivers sent her an email Monday, telling her to get in touch with their lawyers. She said if she would have known she wasn’t getting her money back, she would have kept the venue and had a family reunion, since it was already paid for, instead of giving up the rights. She said she just hopes other brides or grooms don't end up in similar situations, and that even though she doesn't feel Two Rivers broke the law, she thinks their practices towards her were unethical.

Experts say you should always be careful when paying for things up front, keep records of everything you sign and be sure to carefully read contracts before agreeing to them.

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