Ontario family loses thousands of dollars after banquet hall closes its doors
TORONTO -- A mother from Etobicoke, Ont. says it was her dream to throw her daughter a "Sweet 16" party, but now the hall she gave $4,600 to has gone out of business.
“It's like poof, my money is just gone," Shalenee Gajju said.
Gajju started saving money for the party when her daughter was just a little girl. The big event was supposed to take place on May 30, but then the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
“Unfortunately we contracted the virus. I did and my husband and my son did," Gajju said.
The family had given a deposit to the Destiny Banquet Hall in Woodbridge, Ont. but when the pandemic hit they were told the party had to be delayed until the fall and then again until May 2021.
The family said it accepted a credit with the company, but was shocked to find out the business has closed down, the doors are locked and the phone had been disconnected.
“Two weeks ago we got a letter saying they are permanently closed and they gave no phone number, no address, nothing. It said they are not giving back the deposits we gave them.”
CTV News Toronto reached out the Destiny Banquet Hall & Convention Centre by email and phone but did not receive a response.
In the letter to its clients, the company said “we regret to inform you that Destiny Banquet Hall has closed” and that “unfortunately we are unable to refund partially or wholly any deposit that was left with us for future events.”
Gajju says it's unfair that customers didn't get back their deposits before the hall shut down.
“It might not be a lot of money for some people but $4,600 is a lot of money for me. I worked hard for that money and I’m very disappointed,” she said. “You did not provide a service for us, you should not take the money and go like that."
Instead of a big party, Gajju’s daughter had a smaller celebration at home with her family, but they hope one day in the future they can have a larger party with family and friends.
COVID-19 has been extremely difficult for many families and banquet halls. The company said in its letter that it had been operating for 10 years and had deep regrets about closing down.