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Wedding video company allegedly creates website to mock customer who sought refund after bride-to-be died
TORONTO -- A videography company is being accused of denying a refund to a Colorado man whose bride-to-be died in a car crash and then taking out a website in the man’s name to mock him.
Justin Montney’s fiancee Alexis Wyatt died in a car crash in February. Two weeks later, Montney emailed Copper Stallion Media, the company contracted to create a video of their wedding, to advise them that the nuptials would not go ahead as scheduled on May 23 and that he would like a refund for the US$1,800 the couple had already paid.
Montney said the company denied the refund and eventually stopped responding to his emails.
"They said they'd extend my service to my next wedding, which was a very insensitive thing to tell me, "Montney told KRDO, a television station based in Colorado Springs, Col.
Once Montney’s friends and family caught wind of his predicament, many gave Copper Stallion Media unfavourable reviews on Yelp and The Knot, a popular site for wedding bookings.
In a statement dated May 22 on Copper Stallion Media’s now-deleted website -- accessed through an internet archive -- the company states it signed a legally binding contract with the couple on Nov. 29, 2019 and that non-refundable deposits are standard as the videographers are set aside for the day.
“We will NEVER refund Justin Montney even with the online threats and harassment,” the company states on its site.
CTV News called a phone number attributed to Copper Stallion Media, but the number is no longer in service.
Montney acknowledges that his contract with the company indicates that money paid is non-refundable, but states that given the circumstances, a refund would have been appropriate.
“They should have been able to (give a refund) because they didn't render any services,” he said.
In the statement, the company also alleges that Montney has been conducting a “smear campaign” against it and that it acquired “JustinMontney.com” to document all the evidence it has of this campaign.
The website, which has also since been taken down, includes an updated version of Copper Stallion Media’s earlier statement with additions including “Life is a b****, Justin,” and “If we knew he was going to shake us down, we would have charged a higher deposit.”
The site also includes several emails between Montney and Copper Stallion Media, one of which allegedly suggests it was Montney who requested the payment be moved to a future wedding.
Additionally, the site displays screenshots of several negative reviews against the company and the names of people the company believes posted them.
The company said that as part of what it calls a smear campaign, it received more than 75 one-star reviews on The Knot in just a few hours, after which they tookdown their page on the site.
In some of the reviews, Copper Stallion Media responded to the complaints, stating that it doesn’t have the money to refund Montney due to COVID-19.
“I messaged them clear back in February before COVID was even a part of this issue,” Montney said.