A North Texas bride said a vendor tried to silence her negative review when she requested a refund.
‘I WANTED OTHER BRIDES TO KNOW‘
On the day of her bridal portraits, Leslie Lenckus said the schedule was tight.
“Everything was planned down to a T,” said Lenckus.
Lenckus said she showed up for her 11 a.m. hair and makeup appointment in Allen to find no one in the salon.
“I had to call him several times. My mom tried calling him,” Lenckus told NBC 5.
When Lenckus connected with the operations manager at Chroma Services, she said he told her the company’s technology didn’t update the appointment. Lenckus shared a screenshot of a text message, time-stamped more than half an hour after her appointment start time. In it, the manager offered lunch on the company while Lenckus waited for an artist.
The bride said there wasn’t time.
“The issue was the timing. My bridal portraits were scheduled to start at one and they were in my venue in Colleyville,” she said.
Lenckus found a last-minute appointment somewhere else and decided to go with a different vendor for the day of her wedding the next month.
“Since you didn’t show up and I can’t rely on you, I’m not going to use you for my wedding day. Go ahead and refund me the two deposits that I paid and just consider it all canceled,” Lenckus said of the $828.12 deposit.
Lenckus shared a screenshot of a text message she said is from the operations manager. It said the company would provide a refund and asked the matter remain internal and that no negative reviews are posted. It pointed to a confidentiality clause in Lenckus’ invoice.
Lenckus said she had the right to leave a review.
“This was a very, very important moment for them to show up and be reliable and they failed to do that. I wanted other brides to know and be aware of that in evaluating, ‘Am I going to choose this company?’” Lenckus explained.
Lenckus said she posted honest reviews about her experience. She shared a follow-up email with a person identifying themselves as the owner of Chroma. The email said, in part, “We’d like to still resolve this matter for you, if you will delete the negative reviews and cease from posting anything else, now and in the future, that’s negative about the company and its employees, then we will be happy to discuss possible refund options.”
REFUNDS AND REVIEWS
When it comes to leaving a review, Clayton Hodges, an attorney who leads the consumer practice team at Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, explains consumer contracts that say a customer can’t leave a review aren’t legal.
“That’s very illegal,” Hodges told NBC 5 Responds. “There’s a federal law that prohibits that.”
Hodges is not involved in Lenckus’ case. He pointed to the 2016 Consumer Review Fairness Act which says honest consumer reviews shouldn’t be impeded.
“The law was passed in response to reports that some businesses were trying to prevent people from giving their honest reviews about products or services they received,” said Luis Gallegos, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission.
Gallegos said the law aims to protect reviews as more consumers use them to make decisions about what to buy and what services to use.
“The biggest tip that we can give to companies is let people speak their honest opinions about your products or services and their experiences with your company,” Gallegos said.
Hodges said if you come across language in a contract or the terms and conditions saying you can’t leave a review, he recommends the consumer moves on.
“’X it out and tell them I’m not doing business with you,” said Hodges.
NBC 5 Responds reached out to Chroma by email, an online contact form and text messages.
We stopped by the salon where an owner told us she was not commenting.
Lenckus, who is an attorney, sued Chroma Services in small claims court and won a default judgment when the company didn’t respond. She said she still hasn’t received a refund and is exploring her next steps through the court system.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” said Lenckus. “But the thing is with a mistake, as a company, you have to make it right.”
You can find more information from the FTC about the Consumer Review Fairness Act here.
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