TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay party place is writing refund checks to at least 27 customers following an 8 On Your Side survey earlier this month.
Customers said they never had the party they planned and paid for. Now they are finally starting to get their money back.
“I’m just frustrated with the situation,” said Geidy Intriago, new owner of Crystal Ballroom Brandon.
Intriago took over Crystal Ballroom Brandon in November of last year.
Now, she says, she’s walking past the camera to save her reputation and her new business.
“Somehow I need to be able to regain the trust of the community,” Intriago said. “If I don’t get that confidence back, there’s no way I can do it.”
As of 2017, customers shelled out thousands of dollars to throw an on-site party, according to Intriago.
“The build was a monster that lasted about two years instead of… the year that was meant to be,” Intriago said.
At the time, Ms. Intriago was only an employee of the company, not the owner.
In August, Intriago left the company. But, she says, she returned after the previous owners went bankrupt.
“I was contacted by the home office to see if I wanted to have the opportunity to come in and, as the new owner, take over and bring their location,” she said.
Customers were promised refunds. Not having received the refunds, they turned to 8 On Your Side.
We called Intriago and even stopped by for answers earlier this month. At the time, she refused to go on camera or answer most of our questions.
Intriago says that as a new owner, she believes she is not responsible for the old debts of the business.
“I come as a new owner, I take responsibility for moving forward not for the things that are in the past,” she said.
Either way, Intriago says she wants to turn things around.
“Do you agree to give money back to these people?” Asked investigative journalist Mahsa Saeidi.
“Absolutely and I do,” Intriago told us.
Ms. Intriago showed 8 On Your Side about 27 refund checks. Checks are the first of 6 to 12 payments intended for each customer.
“Will it go by post today?” Asked investigative journalist Mahsa Saeidi.
“Yes,” Intriago said.
Crystal Ballroom Brandon has customers booked until 2022.
Intriago wants to regain confidence so that his business can continue to thrive. She plans to fully reimburse all customers over the next 12 months.
“But can people trust you? Asked investigative journalist Mahsa Saeidi.
“Absolutely,” Intriago said. “I am one hundred percent sure that the business can survive if I can win the trust of the community. “
“I love this place. I want to see it thrive and it has all the potential,” she added.
Intriago also claims that customers can be reassured by additional insurance.
“We’re going to start offering what’s called contingency insurance,” Intriago said.
The owners of various Crystal Ballroom Tampa Bay locations have told 8 On Your Side that they are not affiliated with the Brandon location.
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