Scathing reviews haunt Christchurch catering company as refund dispute arises

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
May 15, 2023 |

A Christchurch couple is fuming after the catering company they chose for their wedding refused to refund their deposit.

Monique Sara and her fiancé enlisted the services of Fare Boutique Food Co. in November of last year.

Everything appeared to be on track until she stumbled upon a series of scathing online reviews, describing instances where the company failed to deliver on its promises.

Concerned about the mounting negative feedback, Monique contacted owner Tina Michelle Rae, hoping for an explanation and reassurance.

Tina said the situation was a misunderstanding and assured her that she would address the issues promptly.

However, as more reviews emerged, Monique made the decision to terminate the services of Fare Boutique Food Co. in January.

The negative testimonials eroded her trust in the company, leaving her with no choice but to explore alternative catering options for her wedding.

Last week Monique contacted Tina via email, requesting the return of her $500 deposit.

Initially, Tina agreed, but then had a change of heart, claiming that she had closed the business and was considering rebranding.

In an email, Tina said “as I was honoring our contract, and restructuring the business, I am well within my rights to keep the deposit.”

In another email, Tina said “the past six months of business I’ve learned a lot.

Weddings are not what I am going to be doing in the future, they are too stressful and expectations are emotionally changed. I am too down to earth and sensitive and take everything on my shoulders.”

Monique’s frustration only intensified when she discovered that another couple faced similar troubles.

That couple took Tina to the Disputes Tribunal asking for a full refund following a wedding held in Oxford, but Tina didn’t show up to the hearing.

Tina confirmed to Chris Lynch Media she was taken to court.

“The wedding was on an excruciatingly hot day in February.

Normally, I would make platters on-site, but it wasn’t appropriate to make them on-site because of the heat, so I decided to make them up at home.”

She said she had a staff member pull out the night before, and the morning of the wedding with Covid.

“So it was a nightmare from the get-go. We had platters still in the car with air-conditioning on” and those in charge [of the wedding] kept changing their minds on when they wanted the platters handed out.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Tina said her daughter, who was helping at the wedding, didn’t cope well in the heat.

So Tina ended up driving her daughter to Christchurch Hospital and then returning to the wedding with another staff member, who she admits “wasn’t appropriately dressed. She was in little shorts, and a tank top” she said.

“I will never do another wedding ever again” Tina said.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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