A well-known South Island catering company has abruptly closed its business with no warning to clients, leaving weddings in turmoil and couples filing police reports.
At least one more victim says they’re being forced to cancel their big day.
“It’s something you dream of since you’re a little girl,” said Christine Gallinger in an interview with CHEK News.
“I loved doing every aspect of the planning and poured my heart into every bit of it. I was spending hours making macrame candle holders, which I still have. They’re in a box. It’s a bit of a weird reality to accept.”
Gallinger is trying to come to terms with the fact her dream wedding won’t happen. She says she booked Toque Catering for her wedding this coming summer, giving a deposit of $5,000 dollars.
She says after attempting to reach out in October, she didn’t hear from the company for two months. After finding out her main contact Crystal Nesbitt was no longer working there, she did some Googling and discovered the business had permanently closed.
She says she’s not been able to get in touch with Toque Catering to receive confirmation of their closure, let alone her deposit back.
“I feel super disappointed. I feel a bit robbed of our money,” said Gallinger. “I mean, it’s one thing for a company to go out of business and share that they’re going out or having a tough time and work on a solution. It’s another thing to completely vanish. We’re in Canada, one can file for bankruptcy, sell their assets, and give what they can to their customers. To completely vanish feels a bit criminal in my mind.”
She’s not the only one whose deposit is in limbo. CHEK News has now spoken to five couples who are all out thousands of dollars, with no conclusive communication or information from the company.
Court documents reveal that Toque Catering’s financial or business issues may have started years prior.
They show the company defaulted on their payment of Provincial Sales Tax and Employer’s Health Tax, amounting to more than $5,000 dollars owed. The amounts were collected by the Province before May of 2022 through a seizure of Toque Catering’s assets. From the court documents it’s unclear what assets were seized.
The company also has an outstanding Civil Resolution Tribunal file that’s unpaid.
As of Feb. 3, Toque Catering was ordered to pay Fiona Johnson $5,000 plus interest after not responding to said claim.
Following Tuesday’s story, CHEK News received a message on Facebook from a woman by the name of Crystal, claiming to be a representative for Toque Catering who said the pandemic killed the company.
“We literally just made a decision to close our doors last week,” said Crystal Nesbitt in the message. “We are not trying to rip off our clients…Lawyers have told us to let them handle all the deposits and clients while we close our doors properly.”
When asked if Toque Catering can commit to returning all the outstanding deposits to clients who are not receiving any services, Nesbitt didn’t respond.
As far as Gallinger and other customers were told in January by an automatic reply that “Crystal no longer was at Toque Catering.”
“I do think they’re fraudulent. Effectively they’re running away with our money,” said Gallinger. “That’s criminal.”
Gallinger, who is out thousands with a wedding now on hold, says if she doesn’t hear back soon, her next step will be calling the police.
As of Wednesday, Toque Catering has not filed for bankruptcy in British Columbia.