ART Catering — Beware of sneaky contract clauses
BEWARE of the any contract from ART Catering/Terry Bland!!! READ the contract VERY carefully and DO NOT send a deposit unless you know that there is NO way you will have to cancel for ANY reason. I wanted to use ART catering for a wedding on 9/18/2011. I started an initial conversation with Terry Bland on 2/21/2011. 2 phone calls and 3 emails later I signed a DRAFT proposal on 3/10 - sent in the 10% "non-refundable" deposit of $1016.52 (even though there is a Clause 9 on the contract that also states "Cancelation and Refund policy: ART Catering will assess cancelation and refunds on a case-by-case basis." My check cleared on 3/24 but on 3/28 (four days after she got the deposit) I sent her an email stating that I had to cancel the wedding as I was promoted to a job that I could not pass up and with the hours required, and travel and ultimate moving to another state, the wedding was off, and asked her to consider Clause 9, regardless of the nonrefundable statement as it was OVER SIX Months from the wedding and no material had been/was purchased. I followed up on 3/30 with a call to discuss further. What she said to me that day and what was said in court were extremely incorrect and false. Do not have any cancellation discussions with her without legal counsel or witnesses! I sent her 4 additional emails, one certified letter and a call to try to solve this professionally and peacefully, willing to pay her for any time spent on the 3-page canned proposal. Needless to say she never had the courtesy or professionalism to get back to me, in any form of communication, forcing me to take her to Civil Litigation Court as I felt it was HIGHLY Unfair and unjust for her to keep my entire deposit with the limited work and time spent on my project. DON'T be embarrassed like me in trusting this woman - I lost in court because I signed the DRAFT proposal - it seems your signature becomes "contractual obligation" and per the judge's ruling, your signature will lose every time regardless of any clauses in proposals/contracts or not - and regardless of reasons of cancelations the caterer has the right to keep your money, any money you send, no matter what. With ART catering, be sure to have some amendments of your own before you trust this caterer with your money, such as list "death, deployment, hurricanes, job changes, dismemberment, anything" that will get your money back if something comes up in your life you cannot control, because in "my opinion" Terry Bland with ART Catering doesn't care about any choices you have to make in life, as long as she gets to keep your money and with the generic Clause 9 as listed above, she could use any reason to not give you your money back. She'll bring in her silver tongued attorney when her integrity is questioned versus trying to do the right thing. I would suggest you have your own attorney review any contract that comes from her/ART Catering, prior to signing it, or better yet chose a caterer who you can trust i.e. they have the capacity to be compassionate, understanding, and caring, and one that doesn't look at you like a $ sign.